Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


When I was a kid, nothing made me squirm more than my parents complaining to "The Management" when something wasn't right or as promised. It mortified me.

It still makes me uncomfortable, but I have become much more willing to request an accommodation if things are not as advertised. I will ask a hotel to put me in a different room if there is a problem with the one I'm in. I am capable of being quite persistent in the matter of being delivered what I was promised at the time of purchase.

A little over a month ago I traded in my original iPhone for a new model 3GS. I noticed right away that my new phone's low-light imaging was meaningfully WORSE than the old one, despite having been advertised as offering an improvement in this area. So today, I went back to the Apple Store and explained the problem. The nice young man at the Genius Bar simply swapped out my SMS card and popped it into a brand new phone. A few minutes later I was on my way. Marvelous customer service. (The store was also chockfull of people; my Apple stock is grateful.)

I have since tested the camera in the new phone. It is still NOT an improvement on the old one, in my opinion. My guess is that they simply tweaked the algorithm for the chip, so it now automatically generates a more contrasty, more saturated image (which marketing tests probably show most people find more pleasing in most circumstances under which snaps are taken). They are clearly also using a different compression algorithm, which I think preserves edge details less well. However, this phone is considerably less "noisy" in low light images than my first 3GS. With a few tweaks in imaging software, I can produce a reasonably pleasing result that ought to serve my casual snapshot needs adequately.

There is at least one other meaningful improvement: the screen backlight has a significantly less yellow cast than the previous one. My first model also had an idiosyncrasy that, about one time in every six or seven attempts, resulted in the screen appearing very dimmed when I turned it on. Let's hope that this new one doesn't exhibit the same problem.

Is there a poker lesson in this? Perhaps. To the extent that I have trained myself to have a word with the floor if I find a dealer doing something egregious, or if I want a table change, I think learning to speak up for oneself (POLITELY!) rather than suffering in silence is a valuable professional skill.

For your viewing pleasure, a detail of the iron tree-grate near the Apple Store on Bethesda Row, taken of course with the new phone:



Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please do not support iphones and the propaganda that they are superior to others. If it wasn't for the ipod, which i carry with me, apple would be out of business. The fact that you have to go through AT&T to get an iphone is shortsided on their part. Plus phones that have no ergonomics, like the iphone, are useless to many, including me.

Thanks for your good work on the blog.


8/16/09 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased an iphone two weeks ago and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I am not a tech savy person and play hell with a laptop mouse so I figured I wouldnt care much for the iphone but I couldnt love it more! It is so very simple to use and the apps are way cool.

8/17/09 1:27 PM  
Blogger Cardgrrl said...

@Al: Sorry, but I can't concur. The iPhone is now the one indispensable piece of technology in my life. 90% of what I really want and need to do with electronics, I can do easily and pleasurably with the iPhone.

I've owned Macs since there were Macs, and I suppose you could say I'm a certified (certifiable?) Apple fangrrl. My ownership of Apple stock has paid for every computer I've bought since I've had it.

And what you say about where Apple's profits come from is mistaken. Their computer business is, in fact, very healthy indeed.

But thanks for the kind words about the blog!

8/17/09 1:47 PM  

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