More Swype

If you have an Android which does not come preloaded with Swype, it looks like sign-up for the beta accounts are open again. I cannot overstate Swype's awesomeness.


Teachable Moments

The President has condescendingly talked about Teachable Moments in the past. In other contexts, he has promoted and promised Openness in Government. His Administration has been far from transparent, and has relied on Washington-insider deals to do and mostly not do anything. While modest gains have been made particularly in terms of transparency of government contracts, precious little of the vast amount classified data has been revealed to the public.

Meanwhile, in the name of safety and security, Federal Government drones, undeserving of basic customer service roles, have been deputised to examine naked photographs of all travellers and to grope their genitalia as a matter of standard procedure. When I was travelling last week, I sustained an uppercut to the groin because the TSA agent was nervous, untrained, and utterly incompetent. At this time, I am still considering legal action.

Recently, citizens have taken matters into their own hands and have shared classified documents with the public through WikiLeaks. This action has been condemned by the same administration which has promised openness. Upholding the law is the appropriate role of the Executive. However, an administration that has promised openness and has been elected on such reasonable assurances ought to use this Teachable Moment to open the records and procedures of the government, as was promised.


HTC Incredible

Do not bother with the HTC Incredible. It has way too many restrictions, does not even have a physical keyboard, and will not allow the installation of Swype. It makes typing frustrating and cumbersome.


Droid 2

The Droid 2 from verizon which will be sold under the international name of Droid Pro, is slightly faster than the Droid, but comes with significantly more bloatware. It does come prepackaged with the Swype keyboard, which makes on screen typing vastly easier, but all told, if you must buy a phone at a retail price, the Droid 2 is not worth it. The origainal Droid can be made to have all the same functionality with nearly the same performance. Buy a used or refurbished Droid 1 on eBay instead of a Droid 2.



Recently we upgraded our Verizon Motorola Droid to the Android 2.2 Froyo OS (upgrade available). Froyo is almost entirely a win. It runs everything much faster, and includes plenty of upgrades all around although some apps are not yet fully debugged for the new OS. However, in their infinite inanity, Verizon locked down the Droid's tethering ability with the new OS, and any attempts lead one to a page for a new plan upgrade they can purchase to enable previously free tethering. This is a brilliant way to alienate loyal customers. Fortunately, there is an app for that. EasyRoot safely roots the Droid phones for $1. Rooting, is giving the user and with user permission other applications, superuser complete control over their Linux phone. Once rooted, many other free applications allow users to take full advantage of their phone's potential including effective use of the terminal, phone-wide ad-blocking, and fixing USB tethering, and turning the phone into a wifi hotspot. EasyRoot has been blocked from the Android Market owing to Verizon's cozy relationship with Google, however it is still available for manual install. EasyRoot even has unroot capability in case you have to take your phone in for service.

*Update* - We also managed to root the Droid 2 using the following procedures: link.


Capitol Green Girls

Capitol Green Girls is a blog focusing on Conservation, Sustainability, and Green Commerce. The authors have a particular insight into the ENGO community, environmental businesses and environmental legislative developments in Washington, DC. CGG also provides insight into greenwashers in Washington who discredit those trying to make real progress towards long term sustainability. In this way, greenwashers undermine the health of the planet. Consider subscribing to Capitol Green Girls.



The new documentary Gasland (torrent) has been released. It is an eye opening look at the poisoning caused by Hydraulic Fracturing, not to be confused with fraking, in natural gas extraction from shale. The film is an investigative report made by one man whose local water-source was under threat. As it stands, drilling companies generally do not even have to publish which chemicals they use in fracking. The film is worth seeing. It reveals how State and Federal governments, and particularly the Bush administration, trampled the interests of the environment and the people in favour of profit-motivated energy companies. Generally, energy companies refused to speak in the documentary, and so the film is unintentionally one-sided, yet probably accurate.