Why Subscribe to FilterJoe?

FilterJoe is easier to subscribe to than ever. If you’ve enjoyed any of my posts about baseball, batteries, or other topics, please subscribe via Email or RSS, or follow me on Twitter, using the links in this sentence or icons located at top of sidebar (far below on mobile, upper right on notebook/desktop).


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Best Cooler for Weekend Camping or Youth Sports

My wife was right.

For our 2-night camping trips, I wanted to get the bigger, “better” cooler. She wanted smaller.

We got smaller. Everything fit. Everything stayed cool.

The “best” cooler turned out to be the correctly-sized cooler, correctly packed.

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iPhone 5C Hand Feel and Other First Impressions

After using a Blackberry for nearly 4 years, I switched to using an iPhone 4s. As I wrote about here and here, it was a great leap up for portable computing, but it was a step down in terms of voice performance and hand feel.

On Friday I got an iPhone 5C (32GB white) to replace my 4s. So what do I think of the 5C after 3 full days of use?

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Book Review: Liars and Outliers

The book Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive provides a framework to answer the question, “Why do people trust each other and cooperate?”

I read this book with an eye towards improving my understanding of how people filter information, which is relevant to the focus of this blog and my recent interest in improving the trustworthiness and quality of crowd-sourced product information. I also knew of and respected the author, security expert Bruce Schneier, who is a source for parts of my password management series.

Filtering information effectively requires trusting your information sources as well as the people who recommend these information sources. If it were fully understood why people trust each other and cooperate, that might guide the development of much more effective and automatic systems to make online information sharing more trustworthy and relevant.

So what did I think of Schneier’s book?

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Want the quietest PC? Just get the right chip . . .

I replaced both my home and work desktop PCs during the past year. My previous home system was a noisy, energy hogging, budget 2006 Dell model that was preloaded with useless software while my work system was a 2004 Dell that was also noisy. I’m done with Dell.

More importantly, I’m done with noisy PCs. This time I was determined to get the cleanest, quietest PC I could get for less than $700.

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Where has FilterJoe Has Taken Me? Where Am I Taking FilterJoe?

Signal to noise ratio is engineering jargon. It is also used in everyday speech. The signal is that which is important, interesting and relevant. The noise is everything else.

FilterJoe has always been about increasing the signal to noise ratio of the internet.

What I found after 3 years of blogging is that only one type of FilterJoe post had a strong enough signal to be noticed:

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Blackberry vs iPhone 4s (After Two Months of Use)

People tend to optimize their next purchase based on the worst feature of their prior purchase. That is clearly why I bought a Blackberry in 2008 after experiencing a phone with terrible voice quality and numerous dropped calls.

Blackberry delivered. I experienced voice quality comparable to that of a land line during my 3.5 years of Blackberry (8320, 9700) ownership. The siren calls from iPhone and Android devices had no effect on me during this time. By nearly all accounts, iPhones were great pocket computers with lousy phones and Android devices required too much fiddling to suit my tastes.

Then the iPhone 4s came out, promising decent voice call quality, improved battery life, and a better notification system. In other words, a great pocket computer and a great communication device. I decided to switch, and I wrote about this decision here.

Now that I’ve been using an iPhone 4s for nearly 2 months, I’d like to revisit my decision. Is the iPhone 4s performing as expected? How does it compare to the Blackberry 9700 I used for 2 years? Do I have any regrets? You may find some of my answers surprising.

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Blackberry vs. iPhone: No Longer a Contest

I like my Blackberry 9700. It’s a great communication device with outstanding voice quality and messaging. Unfortunately, I’ve managed to submerge it in water once and drop it on sidewalks a few times. Remarkably, it has few issues so far. But given the water damage, I’m thinking this Blackberry may soon quit working altogether. Time to upgrade.

I briefly considered the impressive Galaxy S II, but I prefer smaller (single hand) devices and more polished operating systems. An inexpensive grandfathered plan gives me an incentive to stick with Blackberry on T-mobile, but the iPhone’s 336 PPI Retina display beckons. Blackberry Bold 9900 or iPhone 4s. Which one?

iPhone 4s. No contest. Here’s why.

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