Pets, Playstations and PDAs…and Keyboards and Bitching on Apple

Ah, tax season. The time where we spend a few hours to fill out a few forms to discover if the government owes us money, or we owe the government money, and how much. I recently filed my 2008 tax return because I’m lazy and should have done it a year ago, and it seems I’ll be getting over $300 which includes retroactive GST payments. So I have three options, I can either put the money in savings for a rainy day, spend it on something useful, like food, or spend it on useless shit. I think you know what I’m planning.

So I got to thinking, and there were a few options. I could buy a low-maintenance pet, like a bird. Perhaps a dove, canary, or parakeet.

Friggen DoveFriggen CanaryFriggen Parakeet

Look at ’em! They’re adorable! But then I run into a few problems, he’ll need to stay in his cage most of the time and that’s not fair for a bird and I’ll feel like shit most of the time because of it. I’m not letting him out in my place because there’s a good chance he’ll shit on my desk and I have a problem with that. There is also fish. There’s the Betta or Fighting fish, a Red Minor Tetra, or a very pretty goldfish…or two.

Fight Motherfucker!!I believe tetra means four...yeah I don't know either.GOLDEN!!!

They’re all beautiful! Plus they’re dirt cheap so I could buy a bunch of them and spend most of my money on a kick-ass aquarium.

Fucking A!!!

See that thing’s awesome. But if I want to give them decent room there is going to be problems, I don’t have much room to store them. I could make room, but where? If you’ve seen my house you’d know space is at a premium. But there’s also small furry rodents. I’ve always wanted a ferret, though I don’t know where I’d get one, but there’s also rats or chinchillas.

He's like a furry hot dog that runs.Sneaky sonuvabitch.You know, I'm not even 100% sure what this thing is.

But again I also don’t know where I would put him, and there’s also the possibility of him running away into one of the many many cracks in this building. I remember one time my cat ended up under the cupboards and the biggest question at the time was how the hell did he manage that? He doesn’t live with me anymore by the way. Lizards are pretty cool, I figure they are less likely to get their scaly asses caught in something, and here I can get a Dragon! Perhaps a even frog or a FUCKING SNAKE!

FUCKING DRAGON!!!Tree Frog in a tree.HOLY SHIT FUCKING SNAKE!!!

But then you run into the problem of owning a creature that was probably never intended to be domesticated…but then again what is?

Although all these creatures have the same problem, where to keep them, what to do with them. With the exception of the fish I can’t keep them locked up 24/7, it’s not fair.

Then I remembered, I’m a tech geek! I thought about getting a PS2, but I have nowhere to put it, or hook it up. I know some may say a PS2 is old and I should get a PS3, but I’d like to remind you a PS2 is $100 and a PS3 is $300. I don’t really want a PS3 because I see no games I want on the PS3, so I won’t get a PS3. But on a PS2 I could play 24: The Game. Yeah I know that game’s shit but I still want to play it, it’s fucking 24! However, my TV is surrounded by crap and it’s difficult to get to. I guess I could clean it up, maybe then my TV would be more accessible. But where would I put all of it? Plus I’m not sure I’d get a lot of use out of it. I haven’t been gaming a lot in recent years, and I doubt buying a PS2 will change that. You know, I could hook it up to my computer monitor or PSOne.

Anyway, my next consideration was a new PDA. I used to have a PDA back in 2000, and I had to get a new one several times because they kept breaking, I eventually gave up on them when I started bringing my laptop to school. Since then I’ve been looking at smartphones and have been wanting one for a while now, especially since the Android operating system was released. But I quickly realized I don’t need a phone, I already have a phone, the LG TU500, it’s beautiful and it works fine, great in fact, and I have no desire to replace it. So basically I want a smartphone without the phone, a PDA. I looked into it, and the only ones I could find are the Nokia N810 which costs $500, way too much, and the Apple iPod Touch.

I was seriously considering the iTouch despite the lack of physical keyboard and removable battery, and the new features added to the recently released OS 4.0 like multitasking and ability to use a bluetooth keyboard, you know, features that have existed on other mobile devices, like my Nokia 770 which was released five years ago, for a while now, means I wouldn’t have to jailbreak it…probably. But then I saw stories saying things like all iPhone apps now need to be written in either Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as if it fucking matters, and Steve “Dipshit” Jobs saying styluses and task managers are bad things. Why does this piss me off? Well Adobe was going to release a compiler that would allow Flash programs to be converted into iPhone apps to be released in the app store, and now they couldn’t. Also, I’m sorry for saying this Steve, but I think having a stylus and a task manager is a good thing. A stylus allows for precision, which is very helpful especially if you are using a drawing app. Now it’s true it sucks if you lose it and some might want to do without, but having the option is a good thing, and it’s easy to prevent losing it, all you need to do is put it in it’s slot. It’s not rocket science. As for task managers, well I’m sorry I want a quick and easy way to close applications. More features is a good thing Steve, not a bad thing.

Why do I keep digressing like that? Oh! Right! I have ADHD. Anyway, those two stories make me think Apple’s business practices are less than stellar, and to buy one of their products feels like condoning bad behaviour. Besides, that’s how capitalism and the free market works, if you don’t like a companies business practices, you can’t force them to change at gun point, all you can do is not buy their products, if enough feel the same way, the company will change on their own.

So since there are no PDAs available on the market today, my only option would be to buy a smartphone. Not something I’m happy about, I like my phone. However the great thing about the GSM network that Rogers operates on is I can switch phones on the fly by moving the SIM card from one phone to the other. I can still keep my old phone as a backup. I found two phones I like. The HTC Dream and the LG Eve.

HTC Dream with an actual keyboard!LG Eve also with an actual keyboard!

Both of these have a feature which I think is crucial. An actual fucking keyboard!

But this also causes a problem. It’s a Qwerty keyboard. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Of course it’s Qwerty, all keyboards are Qwerty!” Not mine. I use the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard.

My Keyboard

Now I know what your thinking, that this is a cluster-fuck and makes no sense. Really? Look down. There’s a semicolon on your home-row. How often do you use that? On Dvorak, the most common keys are on the home-row, the vowels all under the left hand and the five most common consonants all under the right hand. Common punctuation and the next most common consonants on the row above, and the least used consonants and the fucking semicolon on the bottom row, the most difficult to reach. All keys are strategically placed so the more commonly the key is hit, the easier it is to reach. I’ve been using it for five years now, I can’t remember why I started originally, it was probably the claims that it’s easier to learn and it causes less strain on the fingers, and it’s faster, all of which many call bullshit on. I’m not sure of the validity of any of those claims but I do know this: I remember before, when I used Qwerty, I had to look at the keyboard to type. I wasn’t a hunt-and-pecker but I definitely wasn’t a touch-typer. Since adopting Dvorak I slowly got better and better. I started with labels on the keyboard, now I don’t have them, don’t need them, I touch-type and am pretty fast if I do say so myself…and I can’t go back. If I go back to Qwerty I will definitely have a hard time touch-typing again. How do I know? Because my mom, obviously, does not use Dvorak, so after using her computer for a few minutes I lose some of the muscle memory I gained from touch-typing Dvorak, and that’s a bad thing. Some might say, “Why not go back to Qwerty and learn to touch-type that?” Because I never did touch-type Qwerty in the past and I doubt I’ll be able to now, and if I try I’ll probably lose all my typing ability. On Windows it’s easy to switch to Dvorak using a tool called DvAssist so there really is no reason to go back to Qwerty other than because everyone else is doing it, and that has never been a good reason for me. I like my keyboard and have no reason to change now.

But these smartphones may change that. It’s difficult to use a different layout when you are so used to another, at least for me, and I looked and can’t find a way to change the layout. Many may ask what the point is when you can’t touch-type on a smartphone anyway. Well, I may not be able to touch-type, but I do remember the positions of the keys no matter what the size of the keyboard is. The “P” is on the top row, fourth key, the “L” is on the top row, tenth key, the “E” is on the second row, third key, the “G” is on the first row, seventh key, and the “Z” is on the third row, tenth key. I’ll be able to use the thumb-keyboard with Dvorak, even if it’s not labelled. So it would be nice to change the layout, or at least know I can. Now, if you think the layout doesn’t matter, I ask you this, why is it in Qwerty? They could have used any layout, they could have used alphabetical, they didn’t, they used Qwerty because most are used to it. Well I’m used to Dvorak, and that’s what I want to use.

So anyway, both phones have a real keyboard, touchscreen, WiFi, run the Android operating system, and cost $50 with a new three-year contract. I love the touchscreen, my mom recently bought a Blackberry Curve, I got to play with it and I know the interface on that thing is shit, so I definitely want a touchscreen because it seems to be the most reliable and easy-to-use interface method. The Android operating system has plenty of apps and is not from Apple so that makes me happy. The WiFi means I don’t need to use up my data plan all the time if I want to browse the web or check my tweets on the go, I only need to use it if there is no WiFi in the area, and if I can find a bandwidth monitor app I think I’ll be good. Now, if I have to get either phone it would probably be the LG Eve because I’ve had good experience with LG, my current phone and laptop are both LG and they still work great even after years of use. My laptop less so but…eh whatever. The only problem is the cost. The $50 is nothing, it’s the three-year contract. It means I’ll need to take over my cell phone bill. I’ve been on my mom’s family plan for the past few years, so I’ve never had to worry about it. But if I have to get a new contract, it means getting a new plan, which means I’ll have to pay, a lot. However it’s probably about time I took it over anyway. However I don’t exactly have a lot of money at the moment. I checked and it will cost at least $50 a month, and that’s not including voicemail and other shit I’ll need. I’ll be buying this phone every month. Maybe I should wait until I’m employed. Though I really don’t need a data plan.

Sigh…looks like I’m getting a Betta Fish. Though I don’t think they get along well with other fish. Dammit!! It’s not worth having only one!!

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