Random thoughts about Android/G1

I received the T-Mobile G1 running Android yesterday and played with it essentially all evening. A few thoughts below, for those who care. (Sorry regular readers, this is a post for those who find this blog from Google…)

  • I thought I would be downloading games, but interestingly enough I haven’t even touched those yet. In fact, the application I’ve spent the most time so far is “Settings”
  • This is the first time I’ve had a data plan on a phone. While the possibilities are endless, I wonder how much value I will actually get out of it over time. I bike to/from work and don’t travel much, so I don’t get a lot of the entertainment value that others might. We’ll see how I feel in a month
  • I would love to start writing apps for this thing, but unfortunately my old laptop has only USB 1.1, which is unsupported

More specific stuff:

  • As is well documented, the POP/IMAP email client is a train wreck
  • I keep pressing “Menu” when I mean “Back”.
  • Task switching is annoying. I would love part of the Notification bar to be a list of open apps.
  • The included headphones and USB-to-headphone extension are really really annoying! The combination is massive, with overly long cables, and the included headphones sound tinny and get tangled in everything.
  • SSH and FTP seems straightforward (ConnectionBot and AndFTP). Nice touch to be able to log into any of my servers from my phone. However, there is an annoying ConnectionBot bug – all of my private keys need to be in the root directory of my SD card
  • New version called “Cupcake” coming out soon. On-screen vertical-orientation keyboard seems like a good thing. Hopefully it also fixes email
  • Google Voice Search seems like a gimmick. First, it doesn’t really work well (I said “Chocolate Grape” and got back “Chocolate Cake“). Second, to use it I have to 1.) Enter my password, 2.) Bring up the applications menu, 3.) Scroll down, 4.) Press “Voice Search”. Too much effort.

Hospital pricing

The Economix blog at the New York Times has a guest article that discusses hospital procedure pricing and revenue sources. From our experiences in a small dental practice, much of the same discussion on revenue sources applies as well. However, the range is more tightly bound than the orders of magnitude difference described in the practice.

From the article, it seems:

  • Medicare (Federal) tries to pay at hospital cost
  • Medicaid (State/Federal) on average pays far under hospital cost
  • Private insurance generates the bulk of profit
  • Uninsured gets screwed
  • The range of prices paid by a private insurance vary widely, by orders of magnitude, and there are seemingly few consistent rules that dictate what prices will be
  • Pricing is enormously complex and (except in CA) nearly completely opaque

I love this guy!

From here:

“For a long time now there’s been too much secrecy in this city. Transparency and rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” – Barack Obama

The new president effectively reversed a post-9/11 Bush administration policy making it easier for government agencies to deny requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act, and effectively repealed a Bush executive order that allowed former presidents or their heirs to claim executive privilege in an effort to keep records secret.

It may not be the type of thing that Mr. Bush wants to hear, however. Experts said Mr. Obama’s moves would have the practical effect of allowing reporters and historians to obtain access to records from the Bush administration that might otherwise have been kept under wraps.

How wonderfully refreshing!
Let the floodgates open on the secrets that the Bush administration tried oh so hard to keep secret. Exciting times, indeed.

Better Posture

Poor posture sucks.

The problem
It starts early in life and is enormously difficult to correct once you are set. It will lead to back pains, poor breathing, and a host of other issues that won’t appear for another 20 years.

I’ve have fairly miserable posture for most of my life. I would slump while sitting, slouch while standing, and probably even curl up while lying down. When people would ask how tall I am and I tell them 6’3″, invariably the response would be similar to “Really? You don’t seem that tall.”

The resolution
I vowed (“resolved”, even?) to get past this right after Thanksgiving of last year. Like a drug addict who’s hit rock bottom, my bottom was seeing pictures from my brother’s wedding. Despite being taller than both of them, I looked shorter than them in almost every picture I can remember, and was fed up.

No more poor posture.

The tools
I dug out a book I had purchased a few years back, Posture, Get it Straight! by Janice Novak. While the book was written for someone quite a few years older and quite a few pounds heavier than myself (the subtitle is “Look Ten Years Younger, Ten Pounds Thinner and Feel Better Than Ever”, after all), and had illustrations of 50-year old woman in leotards smattered throughout the book, the principles laid out throughout the book, especially in the first two chapters, were solid.

The actions
For the past 8 weeks now, I have started the following.

  • Every time I catch myself slouching, I consciously sit upright with the “perfect posture” principle in the book.
  • Whenever I head to the gym, I focus more intensely on posture than every before: shoulders low and back, chest out, head and neck back.
  • Occasionally I will turn on the Yoga DVD that we have and run through that, as the stretching invariably helps limber up my back.
  • I’ve incorporate 2-3 core workouts into my weekly regimen. Good posture requires a strong core, both front and back. (I will detail this in a future blog post)

The results The first two weeks were tough. I caught myself slouching 10-20 times per day. When I would correct myself, my back would make snapping and popping noises. I would go to bed with an aching back at the end of the day.

But it is getting better. At least I think so. My back doesn’t pop or snap anymore. The corrections I have to take are fewer. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I definitely see improvement. And I definitely feel taller. Whereas my wife used to seem ~9-10 inches shorter than me, she is now the appropriate 12 inches shorter than me. I haven’t had any comments about how tall I don’t look in these past 8 weeks. Yes, things are looking up.

I will update this post as time goes on.


Some may say Jan 21 is too late to post New Years resolutions. These should all be done over the first week of January, then immediately pushed aside for more interesting fare. Others prefer to not post them at all. I spent the last three weeks pondering over this question for myself.

You see, resolutions never really meant anything to me. I always believed that, if I needed to do something, I would just start doing it and not wait for a new year to begin to “resolve” to do it.

This point of view hasn’t changed. It’s just that I’ve decided to start doing some things that overlap relatively cleanly with the new year.

I’ll explain these things in subsequent posts, for those who care (and everyone else who doesn’t…)