Monday, November 26, 2007

Speed Bump

Oh the things I find online at work!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thank God for Simplicity

Even though I was brought up using Windows and I'm pretty sure I'll go through some withdrawals when I switch over to Mac. No one can deny Apple Inc. has style and Microsoft tends to just mess stuff up. Apple's industrial designers have discovered the genius in simplicity, while Microsoft seems to think the best way is the way around. That is why I think this video is so funny.

I found this on some geek blog today at work. I was laughing out loud, but I didn't tell anyone why because only the true Apple fan/geek can appreciate the humor and sarcastic captions. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Amazon's Kindle...3 years on THIS?!

Has the entire tech world gone mental? I was surfing the net just a few minutes ago and I came across a news story for's Kindle. It is a new electronic reading device that hopes to revolutionize the "book/print" market like the iPod did for music industry. However there is one slight problem Amazon...THE PRODUCT IS TOTAL CRAP!
I only spent around ten minutes reading articles/blogs about Kindle and I already know its not going to revolutionize anything and will probably be a let down for Amazon.
Not only does it look like Amazon tried to rip off Apple's patented style (which they failed at miserably, the thing is hideous), but you are limited by its lack of features. The screen is black and white (boring! Come on Amazon! Even the most insignificant small town newspaper has color features!) The scroll feature is controlled by a corny wheel! A WHEEL?! Did we go back to the 90s? What ever happened to the great advances in touchscreen technology? That stupid little scroll wheel is going to be a huge headache for Amazon's customer service line. The entire thing looks like a poor man's first generation Blackberry.
Furthermore, I don't get the concept of the product. Amazon's concept: people want their print media all in one device; just like having your music/video library in an iPod. Amazon claims:

"The Kindle represents a milestone in a time of transition, when a challenged publishing industry is competing with television, Guitar Hero and time burned on the BlackBerry; literary critics are bemoaning a possible demise of print culture, and Norman Mailer's recent death underlined the dearth of novelists who cast giant shadows. On the other hand, there are vibrant pockets of book lovers on the Internet who are waiting for a chance to refurbish the dusty halls of literacy." - Newsweek article

But I don't think the print culture is going away any time soon. Sure children (and a lot of adults) don't read as much as they should because they're clocking hours playing Halo 3. But trying to make reading sexy and tech savvy by putting it on a poorly designed device isn't going to make them change their habits.
Sure it would be nice to have access to thousands of books all in the palm of my hand and I do feel like the e-book does have a market, but it is not widespread and it is not revolutionary. The two major markets I see the e-book taping are college students and commuters.

  • College students because they can save space and money by having discounted e-books all in one device, but a student might run into the problem of needing to use multiple books at one time for a research product.
  • Then there are commuters, its obvious that two hours on the train could go by a lot faster reading the new Mary Higgins Clark novel or browsing the pages of the your favorite blog.

But one stinging question comes to mind when Amazon claims the e-book is so convenient, and that is: "What about ultra-portable laptops and iPhones, don't they simplify our lives a lot better? "Apple's MacBook and various other Windows based laptops are able to receive high speed internet via WiFi. If I want to catch up on my RSS feeds from the web, I'd rather flip out my laptop, connect to the closest WiFi port and see in full color the rantings of my favorite author. What Amazon should be doing instead of spending three years on a poorly designed e-book, is creating software that enables customers to copy their print library into a program on their laptops. We don't need another device to carry around!
Futhermore, to drive my point home that this Kindle/e-book thing is not as great as Jeff Bezos claims, I believe there is something very romantic about books. The book was, arguably, humankind's greatest invention. It is..."light, portable, easy to share, no silly DRM problems, and it really isn’t that expensive given the value of entertainment a reader can wring out of it. The paper book is a good product." Book lovers will never give up their paper books for e-books, it just isn't the same. Real books carry with them individuality, character, and a sense of history. E-books carry with them nothing but the text of the book and the cold feel of an electronic device. I'm sorry Amazon, you don't have a winner here, stick to being a great bookseller.
One more thing: They're also trying to charge $400 for this thing?! I could go get a iPhone!
I believe the wave of the future is in simplifying our lives. Thats why the iPhone is such a great product, it lets me carry one device instead of three (iPod, phone, laptop). Kindle claims to simplify my life as well, but it just doesn't follow through.
In conclusion, the Kindle sucks, Jeff Bezos looks like a tool in most of his pictures, Apple rules, and I wish I had a iPhone...Thats just me though. :-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Please Wake Me I'm Sleeping In!

Like most kids, I loved to wake up early in the morning and watch Saturday morning cartoons. Nothing could jump start the carefree joys of an elementary school kid's weekend like a couple hours of animated fun. It was usually around 7 or 8 am, when I'd roll out of bed, grab a blanket, head downstairs, and settle in for quality time with the TV.

Even though I was always told to get off the kitchen counters, most Saturdays I'd find myself scaling the cabinets, like a mountain climber on a steep cliff wall, in search of some Golden Grams or Puffed Rice (I was a weird kid). I'm still impressed I never fell backwards and cracked my head open on the counter. But for a third grader with an active imagination the risk was worth it. I was a big kid who could make her own breakfast!

What really surprises me though is that throughout my entire span of waking up at the crack of dawn to watch cartoons, I never fell back asleep. This is a shock because now, I can hardly stay awake sitting up in the morning, let alone laying down on the couch all comfortable and cozy. My brain today seems to think that if the clock still reads "AM" then its completely acceptable for me to still be asleep. I hate to say it but I am a lazy ass when it comes to getting up in the morning. This comes as a real shocker to all of you out there who know me, I'm sure. But this trait is not something I'm proud of. What happened to that kid who was so resilient against the Sandman? At what point did I stop prioritizing awesome, hilarious, infinitely beautiful Saturday morning cartoons over a few extra hours of sleep?

I guess feeling tired in the morning comes with the territory of being an adult. Now that I am "full grown" I find myself watching people when I'm out in the city. I tend to make eye contact with many strangers throughout the day and I've found that a good portion of us working stiffs are dreadfully tired looking. I once had ride a commuter train to and from one of my jobs. I named it the Nap Time Express. About five minutes into the trip about half of us were asleep. Me, I could usually be seen in the back corner with my head back, jaw dropped, and drool running down my chin. Ask almost anyone, and they will tell you one things they wish they had more time for: sleep.

Sleep is essential and it feels good, but it keeps us back. One of my old bosses, who was a small business owner, once said, "If I didn't have to sleep, most of my business problems would go away!" I'm sure a lot of us with busy schedules wish we didn't have to dedicate at substantial portion of our day to lying down unconscious. The act of sleeping appears to be so inefficient! You're just lying there, doing nothing, accomplishing nothing! Of course, thanks to science we know sleep is a busy time for the mind, but in excess its just as pointless as picking your nose!

Thus I come to the meaning behind the title to my blog: You Can Sleep When You're Dead. That grouping words is one of my Dad's favorite. He loved to say this to me in the mornings when I had returned home for the summers. Of course, being the typical 19 year old, I'd sleep in till about noon or 1pm, go downstairs grab a bite, and then head back up to my room intending to watch some TV, only to fall back asleep till around 3pm. I'm sure it was hard and frustrating for him to see my squander my youthful days away. After all, he had to get up at 5am! But now, that I am really trying to do something with my life (not just sleepwalk through it), I understand the wisdom behind his statement. When I'm on my deathbed and I look back on my life I know for certain I will not make the statement, "Geeze, I wish I would have slept more." As essential for the body eight hours of sleep is, it still is time you are losing. It is time you spend out with your friends. It could be time you spend reading a great book. It could be time you spend with your partner. It could be time you spend playing with your daughter. It could be time you spend bettering your life. Sleeper's Remorse, is a horrible feeling, it almost feels like guilt. But once we all understand we have plenty of time sleep when we're dead we will be compelled to get up and get out there!

Now, I'm not claiming to be a sans sleep saint. I can almost never resist an extra couple of hours if I can manage it. There is a distinct line between practice and preach. I'm merely speaking in ideals, ideals I hope to one day embody. So with one succinct sentence lies a very important lesson in life, "You Can Sleep When You're Dead."

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Little About Jane Fromer

My name is Jane Fromer, and I am a writer and musician from Arlington, VA. I graduated from Mary Washington College with a degree in Political Science. I currently work for a scholarly journal in Washington D.C.

I have several music projects in progress. The most important being the creation of Jane Records. It is my own independent music label. Bands under this label to date are: karenjane and For Science. (Hey, you gotta start somewhere). I also have worked with Collage Records in the past. I am a big believer in simplicity and my current recording studio encompases that philosophy quite nicely. I work with a MacBook 2.2GHz laptop, M-Audio FireWire midi interface, my Ibanez AEF-18NT Acoustic Electric guitar, and a slew of music programs/plugins. If you are interested in working on music with me please email:

When I'm not pumping out the tunes I am expanding my ever growing knowledge of the tech world. I am a Web 2.0 junkie and hope to one day be a Silicon Valley mover-and-shaker. I have always been drawn to computers and technology since my Dad brought home my family's first computer (it was a Packard Bell). I recently converted to a Mac and have found greener pastures. However, I believe I'll end up being both a Mac & PC user when I can afford it.

Other than music and technology, I enjoy searching for the meaning of life. I'll be sure to post the answer when I find it!