All posts by Michael Baumli

A programmer since 2001 for a Kawasaki manufacturing plant in the Midwest. Handles a variety of tasks from Systems Administration of AIX, Linux, Windows Servers, Programming, Desktop Support, Application deployment, AS 400 Administration tasks, Crystal Reports customization, and more.

Rosetta Stone Launches iPad App

Yesterday Rosetta Stone launched their TOTALe HD app for the iPad device, another platform which Rosetta Stone included in trying to create a total immersion process for learning a new language.  I was excited to try and get my hands on the app as soon as I managed to get an opportunity.

The app was a welcome addition because now I finally have another reason to use my iPad instead of sit in the corner as a photo frame, which is where the device spends most of the time now.  Rosetta Stone released their app as a free download from the Apple App Store.  In order to use the application, you need to have an active TOTALe subscription to take advantage of the app.  This is included with any purchase of any Rosetta Stone language product as well as if you purchase an online subscription through Rosetta Stone’s website which can even be purchased at three month increments for as little as $199 which would give you access to all levels of the language.

The app itself is great.  While it does not include many of the additional you would get on a PC such as the Studio sessions with instructors or the online games and stories, but the course does include all of the courseware as well as the previous scores that you might have had from taking a lesson.  The courses themselves don’t appear to be stored on the iPad device but downloaded as a stream.  This can lead to the application dragging from time to time if you have a weak internet connection, but in general the app is far less drag on a connection than streaming video and doesn’t have to be as responsive as VoIP or online gaming.

Some of the positive things that I did enjoy with the iPad app for Rosetta Stone is the freedom and portability of the iPad with the functionality of the application.  I can take learning on the iPad outside to my porch where I can enjoy the spring weather and learn a new language. Many times the PC version would almost seem better on a touch screen where the iPad app makes that fully available for you and actually allows some portions of the lessons to proceed a split second faster.  The app takes up little room on the iPad and so even the lowest end 16GB model shouldn’t have any problem with storage capacity.  The installation of the application is only 12.6 MB and has to be done through the iTunes App store.

The downsides to the app are that the courses aren’t stored on the iPad which is unfortunate because I really would like to use the device without having to be connected to a WiFi or 3G connection.  On the positive side, 3G coverage is enough for you to use the courses although I don’t know what the data plan usage would be.   Other problems with the app include the fact that some minor data points are missing yet from the Rosetta App including one of the features that I use to study which would be the date the last time a lesson was completed.  One other feature that I find frustrating is when you have languages in a different character set such as Chinese or Arabic, the app resets the character set after every lesson.  This was very annoying for me because I try and make my learning process just a bit more difficult by learning the advanced characters.  Generally on the PC side, the character set is somewhat static unless you completely close out of Rosetta Stone.

The application is clearly a first release and has a number of issues.  Performance appears to be there, while occasionally response just does not seem to be there.  However, this also can be experienced with a weak internet connection on the PC variant of Rosetta Stone.  One of the clear bugs happened to be how some of the courses would have completion of over 100% for the score.  Clearly this is a bug that will probably be fixed in an update.  I don’t feel the that any of the bugs are detrimental to the learning process.  However I did have the application crash during a lesson.   I was able to pick up right where I left off when the application failed though and within a few seconds.  While working on the application I spent two hours studying Japanese while working through three core lessons.

Overall, I would recommend this application to any iPad owner as well as I would say that Rosetta Stone is definitely a great opportunity to learn another language and worth the expense, especially compared to taking college level courses.  I think that the only way to learn a language faster would be to move to a country where the language to be learned is native to the area.  My hopes are that Rosetta Stone will allow the application to download lessons similarly as downloading movies from iTunes because I would really like to be able to use this in areas where 3G just is not available.

UPDATE: June 7th, 2011.  After further investigation I have discovered that portions of the course where are missing from the iPad version.  Ths would include any lesson that would require typing such as the grammar, and the writing portions of the application.   Hopefully Rosetta Stone will realize that the iPad is also capable of text input with the onscreen keyboard at some point in time.

MacBook Air 2011 Model Launch Immenent

Normally I wouldn’t go out of my way to put forth a baseless prediction, but while browsing the prices I did notice that the refurbished models of the MacBook Air have all dropped by about $20, previously the entry level MacBook Air model was listed at $849 with a 15% discount. I have watched the refurbished store in the past and noticed that shortly before a product launch, the prices for a particular product would drop as a successor was released shortly there after. This would lead me to believe that Apple will probably launch a new MacBook Air right around the time of the WWDC. My only other explanation for Apple to reduce the prices of their refurbished MacBook Airs would be that the products simply aren’t moving from the refurbished market which would be something I have yet to witness from Apple.

The only reason why I am even bringing this up on this site is that after a quick Google search, I haven’t seen anyone else make this observation and thought I would try and be the first to call this prediction.  A number of other sites have predicted the next MacBook Air would be released around June/July with a SandyBridge Processor and Thunderbolt interface.  Most likely this will include an integrated  Intel HD3000 graphics chipset which will likely result in a significant boost in CPU performance all the while being inferior in 3D graphics.  Then again, who buys a MacBook Air for gaming or graphics editing?

UPDATE: Well, apparently I was incorrect in assuming the exact release date.   Hopefully Apple will refresh the model sooner than later.

So a SQL Server Transaction Log ate Your Free Space.

This weekend I came across an unusual circumstance that I thought I would share with many of those part-time SQL Server admins. I currently maintain more than a couple of SQL servers. Because SQL Server has a good maintenance program I don’t spend the money on a third party software for backup. Instead I setup the maintenance plan to create a backup every 6 hours and then push the file to a network share. For some reason or another, the network share came detached and the backups filled up the local data volume. This effectively shutdown the server. I cleared up the space, restored the mapping, and didn’t think much more about the problem. I noticed that I was getting a backup file from each database but failed to pay attention to the transaction log.
This is where my new problem that consumed my weekend started. Friday night at 7pm I got another phone call about the SQL server being out of disk space again. Again I had no space on the volume, but the space wasn’t consumed by the backups. Instead, the transaction log which is normally a couple of gigs in size had ballooned to 100GB in size. I had attached an external USB drive to push a backup of the transaction log to and tried to shrink the transaction log from the SQL Server Manager. This only give me about 3 GB of storage back, but they were quickly consumed as soon as the end users started using in their application again. I then kicked off a backup of the database and then transaction log. I now had 99% of the space free in the transaction log file, but still could not shrink the database. I had fought and fought with the database trying to get that free space back.

Finally at about 2am, running out of ideas, I deleted the transaction log file and started up the database again which effectively locked the database for a lot of people. Having migrated the database before, and knowing that a simple restore of the database could easily fix the problem, I took the most recent backup which was actually taken after end users were cut off from the server and restored the database. After the restore, I again had the same problem of a database with a 100 GB transaction log file. This time however, I for some reason threw caution to the wind and performed yet another shrink to the transaction log file. Finally, I freed up 75% of the space on the volume which allowed everything to return to normal.
Why I had to backup and restore the database before I could perform an effective shrink of the database, I do not know. If this has happened to other people, I would like to know the reason behind this.
My corrective actions include scripting a compression command on the backups to reduce their size.  I also plan on creating a trigger to notify me by email when the disk space is low, 20% is one of my favorite guide lines as far as that is concerned. I am considering running a network mapping script to reattach the volume of the server before the files are moved over so that the network volume that I monitor won’t be so easily missed with the other backup files that I file on the backup storage volume.  I don’t like using compression because of how having to decompress a file to restore it effectively adds to the lengthy process of getting the database back to working order.  Then again, having a few extra copies of the database around is also handy.

I am open to other input. I thought I would just share my wonderful late night experience with others in hope to get some improvements or perhaps help out other admins who might run into the same problem.

MacBook Pro 2011, The Good and the Bad

Like many others, I had been holding my breath for the greatness of the Macbook Pro hoping some of the rumors where true while others were not.
First let’s take a look at the good which would be the obvious inclusion of the Sandy Bridge processor. The Core 2 Duo was aging gracefully, but still needed to be retired only to be replaced by a much speedier i5 offering two generations of performance boost over the Core 2 Duo. The immediate added bonus and probably the second most promoted item would be the inclusion of Light Peak, or as we have now rebranded it, Thunderbolt. With an interface that allows for 10GB of bandwidth across the interface, moving data to an SSD has never been so fast. In fact, I might want to run my games off of the external drive because of the speed. Also a couple of maintstays with the New Macbook Pro are the Firewire 800 port and two USB ports. We have the same Super drive without any mentioning of the BluRay drive at this time. Clearly Apple wants to distance itself from Sony and promote their iTunes store here. All MacBook Pros include an illuminated keyboard which they have for a couple of generations now. The resolution starts with the very familiar 1280×800 and moves upwards. We also include the familiar SD card slot which started with the 2010 generation of MacBook Pros  The one last good thing that I have to mention is that they have bumped up the hard drive capacity to 320 GB by default.  However, if you want to get an SSD, they are by no means any cheaper of an upgrade than they were a year ago.

Now time for what I consider the bad. The Macbook Air 13.3″ laptop has a superior 1440×900 resolution screen that makes me almost want that particluar laptop instead of the 13.3″ MacBook Pro. Also, and I personally hold Intel responsible for this, but the 13.3″ models also suffer from using Intel’s intregrated HD 3000 video card. This is an unfortunate departure from the nVidia chipsets in the last four generations of Macbook Pros. At this time, I have not met an Intel video chipset which I have liked. They are all slow performers and lack the power that I need just for my day to day operations. I may try the latest Macbook and change my mind, but I highly doubt this. I can usually tell when I am running a PC with an Intel graphics chip or an alternative.
Last and this is what I probably consider why I recommend anyone with a current Macbook Pro to stay away from this upgrad is that Apple has slashed the battery life with the new upgrade. They are now 3 hours less than the previous generation. That to me means that I might as well stick with my iPad for the long trips or try getting a different brand of laptop. -See Update.  I currently think a Lenovo Thinkpad T420 has my name on it. As much as I was looking forward to the new releases, Apple has done little to impress me and much to disappoint me.

As for Steve Jobs, please get well soon as I feel your company is beginning to disappoint me.

UPDATE: There was a bit of a misunderstanding on the battery life. Apparently the battery holds the same charge as before and the laptop has the same power draw as before, but the tests were changed.  As noted in a computer shopper review.  The battery life is the same in both 13.3″ laptops.  The new testing is that using the DVD drive during the operation of the laptop while the older test was based on “average” use.  Average use would be something akin to browsing the web or performing other low CPU intensive tasks.   I hope that holds accurate as I would hate to see newer generations of laptops moving towards power draining CPUs again.

Steve Ballmer Moving Microsoft in the Right Direction?

For those who don’t know me, let me establish a few positions that I have taken over the many years that I have been working in IT before me writing a piece I never thought I would write. First, I do not particularly care for Microsoft and have been known to go great lengths to avoid using or buying their products. I am even writing this on my Ubuntu laptop for now. And I won’t claim to be a free software preacher either. I feel that every job has a proper tool, many have more than just one.  For example when I am home browsing on the internet, that tool could be an Apple Product or a Windows Product, or an alternative such as Linux.  They all do the job well.  When I work, I use Windows 7 x64 bit because I need the memory for the work that I do.
Second, as much as I dislike Microsoft, I loathe Steve Ballmer even more. In my personal opinion, Steve Ballmer is the mouthpiece that rattles on endlessly as though possessed by an otherworldly spirit while the rest of the company appears to want to present itself in a better way. While many key people in Microsoft try to reach out to Open source communities and bring in developers or try and encourage hackers to work with Microsoft to improve security, Mr. Ballmer will spout ramblings of IP theft and threaten lawsuits just moments later and place bounties on the head of anyone who exploits security flaws. The man seems about as in control of Microsoft as a dog owner would be of a Rottweiler walking through a butcher shop. The man has been notorious for being a clown on stage and jumping around like the dancing monkey boy moniker he has earned.

Which is why as much as it pains me to say this, but I feel Sam Diaz of ZDnet is wrong on saying that Steve Ballmer should remove  himself. Over the past five years, Microsoft has suffered a lot of brain drain and replaced a great many good managers with technical goals with business men that are out for pure profit.  One such great loss include one of my personal idols Ray Ozzy.  The problem with losing those engineers, the visionaries of the company is that eventually without the visionaries, the company runs out of ideas to market and lacks direction.  Ballmer finally realized this and appears to be changing his tune.  You see, he has shown something of what I would call growth.  He made a mistake and is showing signs that he has learned from that mistake.  Much like when I tear apart a computer and for some reason, I misplace a jumper or get the wrong power supply or purchase a CPU that won’t work with the existing motherboard. I can easily just abandon the computer or give it to some one else for a discount price because I can’t make it work.  Or I can try and troubleshoot the problem, fix the computer and learn something from the experience.  Another example would be taking the star basket ball player out of the game for being a ball hog after he finally learns how to pass to the other members on his team.  Steve Ballmer seems to have learned one of the valuable lessons in running a business.  That is running a technology company with only businessmen as executives is a bad way to run a business.

Now for why I feel so strongly about this.  For the last decade I have seen more people chase after jobs in the “business” world rather than the engineering world because they didn’t want to deal with the complexities of math and feel they could get an equal or better paying job than some one who actually did the heavy thinking.  I have a co-worker that chose to be an manager of information systems instead of a computer science major for just such a reason.  Bill Gates spoke for years about the need for more H1B Visas because of the talent shortage in engineers.  Steve Ballmer didn’t do much to help the problem by showing everyone that marketing and sales were important to the business while letting the engineers disappear.  Hopefully this is a high profile enough movement and successful enough that more companies will push to get engineers and more technical people into positions of leadership.  With that notion perhaps, and this is a long shot, people will see an engineering degree as a way to make real money instead of thinking the only college degree is an MBA.

So yes,  I want Steve Ballmer to stay as the CEO of Microsoft, not because I like the guy.  Not because I like the company.  Not even because I don’t like the company.  I want Steve Ballmer to be CEO so he can put more engineers in power and hopefully set an example that sometimes the person with the engineering degree gets to call the shots, which by what I still call a long shot, but start getting more students to enroll in college as engineers.  These hopes are the reason that I feel Steve Ballmer is moving Microsoft in the right direction.

Just the Fax please.

Today I came across an oddity which I can not explain. I have dealt with firms before that have all sorts of policies which make little sense in a digital world. Some of them I understand, such as older firms not accepting credit cards or checks. Various people not trusting online payments due to security concerns. Some people simply do not understand technology and take a cautious stance. Some do not feel that their business needs the additional headache to thrive or a business may just not want to grow beyond those confines of their current limitations.

That brings me to the software company that I had to deal with this week.   They went the extra step and built their online store up with an interface to accept credit cards and directed customers to use just such a thing. They are also used to dealing with companies that prefer to order through PO verses using a credit card. But here comes the caveat. They would only accept the purchase order by fax or snail mail. Apparently emailing a purchase order is completely out of the question. I have dealt with a few companies that would not accept a purchase order by email, but this marks the first time that a software company happened to be the one requesting just such a thing. What made this even better is that the purchase order had to be faxed to an ‘800’ number so they were actually paying to receive a purchase order that could have been received free of charge by email.

How many companies do you know that still only accept orders or even payment by methods deemed almost obsolete? And why do they do this?  Feel free to comment your position on this subject as I am so very curious as to why a software company of all people would not accept a PO via email.

Novell’s Patents and Why CDTN Holdings Wants Them.

The web was a buzz earlier today with news that Microsoft wasn’t the only company being involved in CDTN Holdings and some including ZDNet and ComputerWorld blogger Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols tried to speculate just what patents each of the member companies of CDTN Holdings would want and why.
First many thought that VMware would jump at the opportunity to get an OS to complete their stack and as I found out talking to a few PR employees from VMware, they pretty much already have everything they need from Novell, or so they say. Of course, VMware is owned by EMC who is a partner in CDTN holdings, so the VMware reps didn’t exactly inform me accurately.  After a quick search I did happen to find patent number7,793,101, which is Verifiable virtualized storage port assignments for virtual machines . I think I could see why VMware might want a crack at that patent portfolio now. I noticed that there are several more storage based and virtualization based patents for VMware and their parent company EMC to hand pick through. Keep in mind that Microsoft is also competing in the virtualization space as well.
In the storage space there are a few other gems including:

  • 7,844,787 Techniques for data replication with snapshot capabilities
  • 7,844,580 Methods and systems for file replication utilizing differences between versions of files
  • 7,809,910 Backup archive management
  • 7,774,568 Clustered snapshots in networks

VMware is also dabbling in identity management, also something that Microsoft has been working with for some time. Oracle and Apple also have identity management needs and would probably not hesitate to pick up a couple patents for their own related products.
With Identity Management we have a whole slew of goodies to pick through including:

  • 7,770,204 Techniques for securing electronic identities
  • 7,774,826 System and method for determining effective policy profiles in a client-server architecture
  • 7,793,340 Cryptographic binding of authentication schemes
  • 7,793,342 Single sign-on with basic authentication for a transparent proxy
  • 7,774,827 Techniques for providing role-based security with instance-level granularity

All four companies might be interested in improving their application deployment technologies with the following patents:

  • 7,730,480 System and method for creating a pattern installation by cloning software installed another computer
  • 7,739,681 Delayed application installation
  • 7,730,179 System and method for policy-based registration of client devices

The point I am trying to make is that each of these four companies have much to gain for the capital they put together to get access to these patents.
Many of us know that Microsoft is all about their Operating System, their Active Directory architecture, Search, their entry into Cloud computing.
EMC is the storage giant, but they also own VMware, RSA, Atmos, vBlock, Mozy, RecoverPoint, Documentum and have just as much if not more to gain than Microsoft.
Oracle while everyone knows is a database company, has bought more companies than anyone else, and leverage patents from Identity Management to Virtualization. Don’t forget that they own Sun Microsystems and happen to have Virtual Box.
Lastly we have Apple, who seems to stand out as while being worth more than anyone in this venture, appears to have the least to gain. However, when considering identity management, Apple would be quick to take advantage. Novell has quite a few data synchronization patents that could help out their MobileMe services. Single SignOn could be a big plus for them as well. They don’t really seem to have as much to gain from what I can tell, but then again, Apple doesn’t think like most companies. We could see them try dive into the enterprise with some of these patents or perhaps they could push themselves to the cloud.
All in all, we have four companies that are going to benefit greatly from the jewels of Novell, their patents. And while everyone was too busy worrying about the UNIX copyrights, the patents which I consider much more important were being handed over pretty much going unnoticed by the media.
Trying to figure out the direction that Attachmate will take Novell is very scary, especially handing out all of the patents like they did. As a Novell customer myself, I am concerned. Then again, who really knows the direction of the tech industry in the long term.

The Aftermath of this transaction is most interesting. Novell was a real hot potato that no one company wanted entirely. The market share of Novell has been slipping since the 90’s, and their recognition is even less. When talking to a salesman for a backup software company, he failed to even recognize the name and recommended that I speak to a tech. Yet, much to the dismay of many, when the patents for Novell were up for grabs, these four companies were first in line.  Microsoft, Apple, EMC, and Oracle are bitter enemies on several fronts, and yet they put aside their differences to pick apart this former powerhouse.

San Francisco Vs Fastfood and a Positive Approach.

After much discussion with a few coworkers, I have come to the conclusion that Americans want to take the same approach about any subject as they do with politics. Sorry for the generalization, but the new American way seems to be that if you don’t like something, have the government ban it. And while I feel that today’s children as well as adults seem to be out of shape in poor physical health, the approach of banning everything bad for you seems to be, pardon the pun but, in bad taste.

I agree that something needs to be done about parent giving their children food that is on par with the food that we feed our animals. But banning something only creates a black market for that object that is banned. Making that object completely unobtainable only makes people want that item more. Prohibition is a classic example of taking a bad substance and making it illegal. People want that substance more, and being from a capitalistic country, someone is always willing to supply their desire for a price. Fast food will not be any different. Just because you take the toy out of the meal doesn’t mean the child will want the meal any less. More than likely, many people will travel just outside of San Francisco to get their child a happy meal just to quiet their child about the latest McDonald’s toy in the happy meal. While I don’t see the majority of parents doing this, I don’t see this as a solution to the problem either. There are more positive ways to push people and companies into doing something that is good for them.

So if I am so quick to dismiss the ban, what then is a better solution? One would be quick to point out the energy tax credits and how quickly people have been buying new and more efficient ways to insulate and heat their homes. I for one am already enjoying the benefits of replacing my windows and plan to also replace my gas furnace as well. While my heating bill will not recuperate the costs of heating my home for a couple more winters, the tax credit was enough of an incentive to move where previously I had not the desire to spend the money needed to replace the furnace and windows. I propose to San Francisco to consider a similar measure.
I have of course a couple of options, and feel free to choose which one you like best. They are yours at no charge, just feel free to give me a nod if this goes to national media:

  1. Raise taxes on all fast food.  Then,  give tax cuts based on the amount of the menu is based of of healthy items. If their menu is 100% junk food free, give them a 50% tax break.  If the menu is 50% healthy, give them a 25% tax break, and break it down that way.
  2. Raise taxes on all fast food, and then based on sales of menu items, give the vendors a tax break.  That way the fast food joint will not only try to make their menu healthier, but they will also try to steer their customers towards these menu items as well.

While all of these suggestions would probably create a bit of a headache for government as well as creating additional posts in San Francisco for monitoring menu items and sales,  monitoring bans of happy meals is not much different.  Plus most restaurants who want any tax credit could probably easily pull inventory on how many burgers or salads they sold at any given period just to save a few dollars.  Businesses love tax credits, and only a minority really likes a ban on anything.

So there you have my two ideas.  Take them as you will.

And that’s why I buy EVGA

I don’t much care for product placement although I do accept the matter, but when dealing with the poor quality of some companies as of late, I thought I would pat one on the back for doing an exceptional job.

That being said, EVGA went out of their way and decided to do a one time replacement of a video card that I have purchased two years ago. The card had a lifetime warranty, but had that one little clause of, you must register the card within 30 days. My failure to do so could have easily been held against me. Fortunately EVGA was willing to help me barring two tiny hurdles. The first was submitting an invoice which I still had from dealing with an online company. Second was to register the card which was done over the phone while on the call. After working long hours and not being able to call support on their hours, I decided to submit my issue through email. After a single email discussing the matter with EVGA Tech support, they issued a one time RMA for my graphics card. I was very specific with my email detailing all of my troubleshooting measures and listed each component in this particular machine by product name. I managed to get a reply on the same day and on a Saturday.

I want to thank EVGA for their great service and also would like to remind everyone to read their product warranties and do what it takes to keep the valid. I decided to register a similar produce with EVGA and the process took may be two minutes. There was no excuse for me not to take that time to fix the problem.

Samsung Intercept Review

I recently fought with AT&T as a carrier and after reaching the end of my 2 year contract, I finally decided to change cellular providers to Sprint. While AT&T has a great reputation elsewhere, in my location, they have failed to provide 3G coverage and even have had outages as of late due to an influx of population related to the annual arrival of college students.

Coincidentally at the same time my contract was just about up, my Samsung Eternity suffered from a flaw in the screen that wouldn’t allow for me to dial from the right side of the screen. When having to dial a number composed of mostly sixes, I decided that my phone could no longer be of use and so I went in search of another phone.

I have chose to look to the Samsung Intercept as the answer to my prayers. The phone has a 3.2” touch screen with a full qwerty keyboard that is easily usable by even my larger sized hands. The Phone features the Android 2.1 Operating System with Google connectivity. Many things about the Android OS makes the phone great. After logging into my gmail account and porting over my contacts, my contacts needed some serious sorting, but everything was there and linking contacts seemed relatively easy.

The phone seemed to be sluggish at times. The processor is noticeably slower than the Epic and other more expensive phones. The phone even seems a bit more sluggish than the older Samsung Moment. Over all the feel of the phone is rather cheap compared to similar priced phones. Part of this could be because of the licensing of Google’s android. One thing that both the Epic and the Intercept seem to have issues with is home row of soft keys. I have seen an Epic which already has these keys not functioning the majority of the time. Although having access to TV as well as several apps from the Android market made the phone feel much more usable, the thoughts that the Android was a mobile internet device first and a phone second was quite frustrating. A few other items that nagged at me was the inability to change to notification settings to include custom ring tones. I could easily assign a custom ring tone to a contact, but when having 300 contacts, setting these up was a bit too much of a task than what I was willing to take on.

One additional feature that I had with my Samsung Eternity that I was hoping to get away from on my Samsung Intercept was pocket-dialing. I would lock the phone and simply by sliding the phone into my pocket, it would unlock and start surfing the web or some other task to which I was unaware of.  Apparently there is a copy of some Armymen game that I have yet to download because of this.

On a much more positive note, the integration of apps where one could easily upload and send off a picture taken by the phone is very much welcome. The Android OS makes most of this possible.  The older propriety OS on the Samsung Eternity didn’t seem to have as much integration.

While the phone has many advantages that make it a great device for connecting to the web and creating a great online experience, putting the phone functionality as a secondary feature makes the Samsung Intercept more of that phone that you want if you don’t care about talking on the phone. But for that web-centric integration device, the Intercept still does pretty well. But on a personal note, I would recommend saving your money for a HTC Evo or a Samsung Epic if you want your Android phone.  My personal bad review of the Intercept is not so much because of the weakness of the phone, but the weakness of the phone compared to the predecessor.  The Samsung Intercept screen is not as clean or crisp as the Samsung Moment.  The construction of the phone feels poorer compared to the Moment.  In fact, the inferiority of this phone almost makes me think that Samsung pushed the phone to keep an option open for the mid-range phone while really driving people to consider the Galaxy S phones.    So while this phone is in and of itself not a terrible phone, the fact that the device is a step down in quality yet in the same tier as the Moment does not please me and that is why I definitely feel that Samsung has lost my business at this time.

One late development that I have had with the phone is that the screen has a flaw and does not respond to touch in certain sections.  This is a second of Samsung’s devices which has me concerned about their quality at this time.  I definitely feel burnt by Samsung in this matter, but fortunately my carrier Sprint was ready and willing to fix the problem and replace the phone without any restocking fee.  So I will be doing a review of the HTC Evo 4 soon.