My Balticon 45 Schedule

I can’t wait to get to Balticon this Memorial Day weekend (May 27-30, 2011) and honored to once again participate as a panelist, performer, and moderator. What’s that? Why no, I didn’t just paste this over from last years post! And I’m insulted that you would suggest such a thing 🙂

Here is a list of the events I will be participating in. Come on by and say hello- I’d love to meet you! The schedule is pretty stable, but there is always a possibility that some of the times or rooms may change – so please check back before heading out to make sure you’ve got current info.

Sound Design & Extreme Audio Effects
When: Friday 10:00pm – 11:00pm
Where: Derby

Our expert panel of professional sound designers and audio engineers will explore various topics and techniques surrounding sound design and the art and science of extreme audio effects. They will share insider tips and tricks to help you squeeze strange and unworldly tones and textures out of the equipment you already own, inspire you to build and record uncommon noise makers, and to turn ordinary sounds into sonic landscapes designed to enhance your next multi-media project. They will cover both basic and advanced recording, tweaking and extreme manipulation techniques to provide you with the take-away know-how to shake awake audiences and transport them to strange new worlds.

Master’s Session: Audio Excellence in Podcasting
When: Saturday 9:00am – Noon
Where: Derby

Our panel of expert audio enthusiasts will discuss various topics surrounding audio engineering for spoken word, music, and everything in between. They will help you get the best sound out of the equipment you have, help you pick the next piece of important equipment within your budget, and help you avoid burnout by streamlining your workflow to shorten the time you spend editing audio. The audience is encouraged to bring questions and even samples of problems they are having with their own work.

Concert: Ditched by Kate
When: Saturday 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Where: Garden Room

New Media participants Phil Rossi and Chooch Schubert bring us alternative rock with their band “Ditched by Kate“.

Unlikely Disasters to Plan For
When: Saturday 10:00pm – 11:00pm
Where: Chesapeake

Because more things may uprise than just zombies and robots!
So much attention is paid to how one might survive the zombie apocalypse or robot uprising. But aren’t there a whole lot of other things we should be planning for? How about mole men? Insect sentience? Or grey goo? Join our panel of possible-apocalypses scholars enumerate the conceivable threats. We might even have time to figure out how to survive one or two! Audience participation encouraged!

Into The Blender: Live!
When: Sunday 9:00pm – 10:00pm
Where: Chesapeake

Geek Media: One size does not fit all
The podcast is back for another live show. This time we’re taking on a touchy subject: There are countless arenas of geek affection, but some seem near universal: movies, television, and books. Whether it be Star Wars or Firefly; Lord of the Rings, or Buffy; Gaiman or Pratchet – there are things you are SUPPOSED to love as a geek. Well, we don’t love them all and I bet you don’t either! Come compare your likes and dislikes with an assorted panel of lovers and haters of every genre. Take My Geek Card (I Dare You!)

Open Source Software for Everyday Use
When: Sunday 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Where: Derby

What we use at home and at work to free us from software giants
Do you feel that your creativity is held back because you can’t afford programs like Photoshop, Final Cut, or Microsoft Office? Our panel of experts have freed themselves from the bonds of expensive closed software ecosystems and you can too. Whether you’re just fed up, want to try new things, or can’t afford to pick up the software you want, there is an open source alternative available to you. Find out what packages our panelist use, how to find software that fits your need, and how to join the amazing communities that spring up around open source software.
Chances are you probably use some OSS, and you don’t even know it. Our panel of open source developers and evangelists discuss the facts and help you find the OSS packages that can free you from outrageously high costs, bizarre licensing practices, and poor interface design. Come and learn ways to save yourself money, improve your productivity, and secure your computer. You don’t have time or money to ignore OSS anymore. Set yourself free.

May 27-30, 2011

Android Phone Chart

Android LogoOur contract is almost up with T-Mobile which means it’s time to pick a new phone. Sure, we could keep going on with the phones we have… I mean they still work and everything.. but where’s the fun in that?!

Our current phones are the G1 which was the first Google Android phone. This has been a great little phone. It has it’s limitations* and quirks, but all in all it’s been the best phone I’ve ever owned. So I really want to stick with Android for the upgrade. I am leaning towards going back to Verizon (the carrier we had before moving to T-Mobile) but that is still up for grabs at this point. It’s going to depend on a balance of phones and available plans.

To help on deciding which phones to go with I’ve created a spreadsheet to compare all of the Android phones that are currently on the market, or are right around the corner. Some are discontinued but left on the list for comparison and completeness.

You can view the document as a webpage with this link. You can also access it as a spreadsheet in Google Docs which will allow you to export to a number of formats (csv, excel, etc).

We originally made the jump to T-Mobile specifically to get the first Android phone since it was an exclusive (yes, my wife is the bomb diggity that she’d let me drag us to other carriers to satiate geek lust). I’ve been happy over-all with the service and call quality and the pricing is good. But I’m finding spotty 3G service in a lot of areas that I frequent. That’s the reason I’m thinking of going back to Verizon. It seems theirs is the network to beat when it comes to data coverage.

Sprint has decent coverage and a speed boost with their “4G**” phones, but Verizon is building out their “4G**” network now and it should be in full swing by the time our new contract comes up and it’s time to buy a phone that is compatible with the new system.

* Regarding the G1’s limitations: I always thought that the problem with the phone being sluggish at times was the CPU. It ends up that it’s really the amount of memory! There are several newer phones that have basically the same CPU (Verizon’s Droid Eris, T-Mobile’s Cliq, Sprint’s Hero) but people don’t seem to complain about the speed. Then I realized the reason is that they have twice the amount of RAM!! Through some 7337 Haxx0r Skillz (yes, that is sarcasm) I rooted my phone and installed an app to increase the clock speed of my CPU, add swap memory, and compress the memory giving it more space overall and the little thing flies!

I removed some of the stuff because it adds wear & tear to the memory card and chews the battery life. But it gave me a taste of what the current generation of phone hardware will feel like. Along this vein I also added in custom software to upgrade the phone from the T-Mobile supplied Android 1.6 (Cupcake) to the current Android 2.2 (Froyo) to try out the features. Wow, it’s like a whole new world and I can’t wait to upgrade!

** I placed 4G in quotes because the 4G consortium has not ratified the standard yet so none of the carriers can official call theirs “4G networks”. Sprint uses WiMAX which has been taking a lot of hits lately (Intel just gave up on it, for instance) and Verizon is using LTE (which actually looks like it will be the official standard). Sprint took a huge risk in that if the standard does not include WiMAX they’ll look silly, but will probably keep on calling it that. I don’t believe that Verizon has official announced their upgrades and are just calling it their LTE Network… for now.

Random Acts of Chooch