Android XML Weirdness

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Here’s something weird I noticed while fooling around with the Android SDK:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<TextView xmlns:a=""
    a:text="Hello World"

If the weirdness doesn’t strike you, look twice.

Reviews Matter

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

So I’ve decided this time William Morrow isn’t going to send me a free copy of the latest Neal Stephenson tome, so I hop on over to Amazon to order it. It’s only $16.47, so I open up my wish list to see what else I should add to make the supersaver shipping threshold. I’m almost ready to pop down $299.99 for Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred Wireless when I notice the review:

1.0 out of 5 stars
Beware the Bluetooth, and the treacherous Tenth Dragon., August 28, 2008
Paul Tynegate (New Smyrna, FL)

I have just upgraded from Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 to 10. I am happy to report that so far, after a couple of days trial, this upgrade seems to have been well worth it in terms of increased accuracy. (BUT SEE LATER!) At the same time I was tempted into purchasing the alleged integrated Calisto Bluetooth microphone, attracted by the special price, the convenience of a wireless headset, and the promise of increased accuracy.

However, I have run into two problems, either of which makes the Calisto currently useless. In the first place, the Bluetooth insert device for the USB port cuts out after an hour or two of usage. Its function is only restored after completely rebooting the computer.

The second problem is far more serious. Once the Plantronics Calisto is activated, Dragon Naturally Speaking demands that you ” prepare this user for dictation”. You would probably be encouraged to note that the accuracy level of the new Calisto is rated very high. You are then required to read a passage from a selected text. When Dragon is satisfied with your reading, it will present you with a dialogue box telling you to wait while your user files are being adjusted for your reading. In my case my computer then simply hung up, and could not be started up again without a complete reboot. Two different Dragon phone techs attempted to solve the problem unavailingly, the second one promising I would get a call back from a top expert capable of solving the problem. No reply over the last two days, and similarly no reply yet to an email I sent them yesterday informing them of the Bluetooth insert failure.

I started dictating this review with DNS 10, but, sadly it first began reverting to a habit Id seen before with DNS 9, that is, starting up a new sentence or phase one letter too early. Finally, it gave up altogether and refused to accept any dictation from my old and otherwise commendable Plantronic DSP 400 mic.

So I can hardly recommend purchase of any of this Nuance equipment right now unless you’re willing to pay good money for what amounts to a rather unpromising Beta version. But if they had waited to get the bugs out first, they might well have something really to get excited about. Maybe wait six months, a year?

Lesson: I should have paid attention to earlier negative Amazon reviews. (I trusted Nuance on the basis of good experience with earlier versions.)


Moth Monday: Alfalfa Looper Moth

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Today’s moth is #8914 in the Hodges Catalog, the Alfalfa Looper Moth, Autographa californica:

Grey moth on wall


Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

I caught the premiere of Fringe last night. More plausible than Alias but not quite as plausible as Lost. I’ll probably set the DVR to record future episodes, but as long as they’re enough King of the Hill repeats to keep me occupied, I probably won’t get around to watching them until they’re automatically erased.

Moth Monday #7390

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Well actually it’s only the second Moth Monday here at Mokka mit Schlag; but today’s moth is #7390 in the Hodges Catalog, the Toothed Brown Carpet Moth, Xanthorhoe lacustrata:

Perched moth

The Mummy Returns (but probably shouldn’t have bothered)

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

I finally caught Tomb of the Dragon Emperor yesterday. Moving the story to China insead of Egypt, and finding a new mummy was a nice change of pace. Maria Bello was a definite improvement on Rachel Wesiz (if not quite as easy on the eyes) and Brendan Fraser was, well, Brendan Fraser.

However the basic rule for these sorts of movies is that they need to move so fast that you don’t have time to notice all the holes in the plot. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor didn’t quite achieve sufficient speed to lift off. Just when you thought it would; there’d be a long boring sequence that gave you time to catch your breath and start laughing at how silly the whole thing was. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t bother. It’s not worth the $10.