Contemplating iPhone

So, I’m in the market for a smartphone. Any ideas or testimonials? I looked at the Xperia X1, but absolutely hated the cheap little silver buttons, wasn’t impressed with the Panels UI, and I don’t like the idea switching to Windows mobile very much either. The HTC phones were doooogggg-sloooooow. (I swear, after looking at one badly-designed phone interface after another, I’m somewhat tempted to go into phone design.) The main thing for which I use my phone now is to run eReader and the iPhone is sort of cool with that, but I can’t believe there’s no simple way to send your books directly to your phone. I so despise Apple’s damned tech-fascism! No SD card or USB connection? What primitive techno-hell is this? And yes, I know the eReader workaround – upload your books to a server and then download it from the web – but that’s simply unacceptable. The Nokia N95 looks all right, but the screen is too small.

I’ve basically concluded that I should just wait for a great Symbian- or Android-based phone with a tallscreen, but I’m curious to know what others who read a lot on their smartphones think. My willingness to wait for another six-to-nine months is somewhat limited by the fact that my Palm-OS Treo reboots itself about twice an hour, including every third time I change applications.

Mailvox: dealing with an atheist

AL asks for advice:

Could you write an article on how to reach a friend who is an arrogant and dogmatic atheist? This guy’s thinking is seriously messed up, and he is living in a strange self-contradictory worldview that I don’t know how to chip away at. Part of me wants to walk away because he seems a lost cause, but I hope that God can do something radical.

My recommendation would be to give him a Christmas present. According to Amazon, there is still time to get it with the one-day shipping option. Then, when you give it to him, tell him while you’re perfectly aware that he’ll disagree with it and think it’s all stupid and so forth, you’d like him, as a super-smart master of scientific and rational thought, to explain all of the numerous errors that must be contained within it to you.

It’s pretty unlikely that he’ll abandon either his arrogance or his atheist dogma, but he will almost certainly be a lot more circumspect about broadcasting that dogma in public once he’s been forced to privately acknowledge to himself – it usually seems to happen somewhere in the middle of Chapter IV – that he’s standing on an intellectual foundation of broken glass. Perhaps you’ve noted that despite the way in which very few atheists will admit to even having heard of TIA, one simply doesn’t hear the “religion causes war” theme being spouted anywhere nearly as often as prior to the book’s release.

College: the bad investment

A college student explains why college is often a waste of money:

Government figures show that of students who entered four-year colleges in 1997, just 54% had earned a degree six years later. A professor wrote about this issue in The Atlantic earlier this year, arguing that it’s immoral to tell all students they can go to college, then crush their dreams by failing half of them. But the problem has deeper effects than hurt feelings: the 54% graduation rate means that around 46% of all money used to finance college tuition results in no degree.

Which means that financially speaking, the spectacularly high dropout rate boils down to a spectacularly bad investment.

This isn’t quite right. Since dropouts don’t pay for their non-attendance, the true amount of college finance being wasted is probably closer to 33 percent. Still, a one-in-three chance of blowing a significant portion of a family’s net worth means that a degree is a much riskier “investment” than it’s usually portrayed. And this doesn’t even factor in the large number of college graduates who manage to get a degree without receiving anything that remotely resembles an actual education.

The long national nightmare begins

Yes, Virginia, there is a 2008 VPFL champion!

84 Burns Redbeards
51 Alamo City Spartans

Congratulations to Nate, who took the Redbeards from 3-11 basement dwellers to league champions on the strength of a rookie quarterback and the Tennessee defense. Those interested in playing next year will be pleased to know that because the title was claimed by a permanent league member, there will be 7 open spots next year in addition to Mounds View, Greenfield, and Burns.