Category Archives: communication

I has an iphone 5


But unfortunately iphone 5 is not yet here. And that is not the only reason iphone 5 not being my phone. The most correct reason would be because I won’t get another, not even in the future.

I’m not bias. I’ve had a taste of both iphone 4 and androphone, and I have to say that I’m more in love with the latter than the former. That said, my next androphone would be either the upcoming PSPhone or the custom order phone from synaptics.

Advertisements

Pumping words/text to my blog from my Androphone


Image representing HTC as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

As mentioned sometime ago, this is my new blog, a successor to my old blog at wordpress.com. thank goodness that ‘almost’ all entries from my old blog has been succesfully imported to this new place. Actually it has been my dream to have my own dotcom domain, and now that I finally have it, I’m gonna blog with more motivation than I used to be.

And you know what? This post is composed on my new Androphone, and it’s also has been my dream to have an Androphone. LG Optimus One may not sound much compared to a certain popular brand like HTC but at least it fulfilled some of my dreams.

There’s no way a Nokia phone could be this good (or bad?)


A couple of weeks ago Nokia has launched their newest and latest flagship product, the Nokia N8. The emergence of this phone marks Nokia’s “re-entry” into a serious smartphone business after they lost to the likes of RIM, Google and Apple, though this might be a bit late for them to make any significant change. However let’s leave the personal sentiment here and go ahead to the main subject after the break.

The launching was held worldwide simultaneously, and last week I was able to test this much-anticipated phone for about half an hour (and another testing session earlier this week too, making it a total one hour of hardware testing). Having this phone makes me feel like a damn rich spoiled kid who can buy every newly released hi-tech toys he wanted using his parents’ wealth. If it’s not because the phone store has a test unit and allowed me to experience it myself, I might never get any chance even to have a touch on it.

The phone chassis is made of anodized aluminum (available in 5 different colors), which feels very solid and tough, and the most important thing is it does have the ‘Nokia’ feel. Long time Nokia users should understand about this ‘feel’ I’m talking about. Being encased in aluminum chassis does help in reducing the wight, thus despite the big size this phone bears, it only weights 135g, which is lighter than I expected. The 2.5′  AMOLED display is also crystal clear, though in terms of color reproduction it may not a s good as iPhone 4. However it is good enough in doing its job with ‘only’ 16M colors, and the most important part is, the capacitive display is very responsive, almost as good as what I’ve seen on iPhone 4, if not better. And since it is capacitive, multi-touch is possible and everything is a breeze.

There are two things I don’t like about this phone though, which I think is my greatest disappointment about it. The first one is not user-changeable, which means there’s no way to replace the battery without sending it back to Nokia center, which is the same case with iPhones. Although a good battery won’t likely need to be replaced that often but everybody knows batteries are always most likely to be the first part in any phone to have a failure. Besides a mobile phone is traveler’s companion and recharging should not be the only available option when the battery runs out of juice when alternatives such as spare battery is possible. From the spec. manual, the standby time may last up to 390 hours. According to the guy at the phone store, since the arrival, the test unit has only been charged once, and with at least 5 people testing it everyday, I must say the battery life is awesome, if that guy is not lying though.

Anther thing that I don’t like about this phone is it only comes in one version only, the 16GB version, which I think is so not like Nokia. Usually for a phone in this class (smartphone) Nokia usually ship them in varieties of capacity, just like the older X6, where it has 8GB, 16GB and 32GB version. Not really sure whether there will be a lighter (8GB) or a more advanced (32GB) variants in the future but for me, they better do. Well, perhaps a “lighter version of Nokia N8” is already exists in the form of the cheaper Nokia C7 (which bears the same CPU but is inferior in overall hardware specs) thus Nokia didn’t bother to come up with a lighter variant for N8. This phone however supports memory expansion of up to 32GB via microSD card should the built-in 16GB space is inadequate for you. For me, 8GB is good enough for a smartphone, because if I want anything more than that I’d prefer a dedicated media player like iPod, since I don’t mind carrying more than one device.

Apart from the above flaws, there are other minor flaws as well. For example the annoying lag when I switched the phone language. I switched the phone language from English to Malay, from Malay to Chinese, and from Chine back to English, and between the switching the phone seemed to be not responding and I thought it has crashed. However the menus are not laggy at all, which is a major improvement on Symbian OS which always carries the reputation of having laggy UI navigation. The startup time is also quite fast, and there’s no noticeable lag in switching the phone mode into camera or media player mode. Also with the ARM 11 680 MHz processor, this phone is quite underpowered in its class, given that some of its rivals already sporting 1GHz CPU.

680 MHz maybe enough to squeeze everything from Symbian^3 OS but for me if they could use a faster CPU then why not? The price of this phone is 1,690 MYR (±543 USD) which is quite cheap for a smartphone so I think to add another 310 MYR/±100 USD (to make it 2,000 MYR) for a faster CPU should not hurt too much, and it would still be cheaper than an iPhone 4. Well I guess Nokia wanted their smartphone to be as cheap as it could without compromising too much power, thus they adopted the ARM 11 processor.

The camera on this phone is really good, as expected from a Carl Zeiss Tesar 28mm autofocus lens (3x digital zoom for image and 2x digital zoom for video). The camera quick access button cum shutter button is located to the side. The 12MP camera is accompanied with a powerful xenon flash and capable of capturing HD video (720p only). The camera lens doesn’t have lens protector so you’ll have to be careful when handling it. Being capable of playing HD video (again, 720p only) the phone comes with HDMI out so you could hook it up to any HDTV. Too bad though the store where I test this phone has no HDTV for me to test the HDMI capablity, and there’s no HD content loaded inside the phone to begin with. For internet, this phone also comes with 3G and 3.5G, as well as wi-fi, which is perfect to save on your 3G bill. Data connectivity with PC is possible with Bluetooth 3.0 (supports Bluetooth audio) and microUSB cable. For navigation purposes, this phone is equipped with both GPS, A-GPS and magnetometer (a.k.a. electronic compass). Also present are proximity sensor (that will detect your face and activate the answering mode when you receive a call) and accelerometer that will change the screen orientation depending on how you hold/place it (and useful for games/apps that support it).

The phone also comes with awesome sound, thanks to the Dolby Digital Plus technology, but that is only if the connected audio system is capable of delivering Dolby processed sound (such as digital speaker or Dolby headphone). As with most recent Nokia phones, this phone also comes with the standard 3.5mm audio jack to connect it to headphone/speaker. The music playback . It also comes with FM radio, front facing camera for video call (most smartphones today come with it too) and the standard software packages you can expect as other existing Nokia phones. Available with the hardware package are USB cables (microUSB and USB On-The-Go adapter), standard Nokia stereo headset, Nokia original charger and HDMI adapter.

I believe I’ve explained everything that I know about the phone. It seems like the phone has everything most users would want but for me there are parts that I think is overkill. For example I don’t need front-facing camera because I don’t make video call. I also personally think a high MP camera is pointless without optical zoom (though optical zoom for a smartphone this thin maybe a funny thing to see). Not to mention that I don’t use a phone to play the so-called HD content. For your info, I don’t acknowledge anything lower than 1080p as HD, and to play HD content I’d prefer using a more powerful player (at least a netbook that’s capable of playing HD content for example). That being said, if Nokia could fix all the flaws and remove the unnecessary things from this phone, then there would be no excuse for me for not getting it.

*sorry for the poor quality pictures. They’re taken from my old dumbphone (>_<)

Justifying the iPhone


got the iPhone4 in my hand, finally (gonna put in on a stress... on Twitpic

Just a couple of days ago I was talking about my ‘genius’ friend who was about to get the iPhone 4. Well, it looks like I’m being the one to get it first before him though I never really planned for it before this. Yes, I’m now officially the owner of iPhone 4 (pictured above), but I have to say that ownership part is half-true, half-false.

It’s half-true (or half-false, depending on how you see it) because I paid half of the price while another half is paid by my girlfriend. In other words, I’m holding 1/2 share of the ownership, making me a co-owner of the iPhone 4. Actually it was my girlfriend who’s so passionate about getting it. She could have bought it herself but I somehow wanted to experience it myself when my girlfriend first mentioned about getting it thus I agreed to have a share on it. My first impression? Not that bad but not that great either.

Having the phone in my hand makes me wonder what if Apple didn’t make a smartphone but went for a ‘dumbphone’ instead? I bet nobody would buy it even if it is from Apple. Chances are the ‘dumbphone’ from Apple would be just another overpriced Nokia and won’t sell that way. So it’s quite makes sense for Apple to make it smartphone and on top of that to build the best smartphone possible to make it stand out from the rest of its rivals.

As usual Apple seems don’t mind selling their products with premium price but somehow with iPhone they used a modified formula. In order to make buyers feel like they are getting what they paid for Apple not only rely on the design but also adopting the latest and the best technology they could carry out on a phone. So what makes a cellphone a smartphone? Touchscreen alone is not enough. Many earlier smartphones already have it, except that most of them rely on stylus for the screen input and most of them are also geared for one-hand operation in order to compete with the traditional keypad operation. Apple thought giving a smartphone a multitouch capability for its screen would give it an edge over the rest of rivalling models but I personally think it’s a bad idea. Most people only use one hand for phone operation which is why it’s a phone, which also means most people wouldn’t bother to use the multitouch feature anyway. Therefore from Apple we get a phone with capacitive (multi-touch) screen and a few other whistles and bells.

Should a smartphone has capacitive display instead of resistive? Some might argue that a phone is bad if it requires more than a hand to operate it. Alright, iPhone is not a phone that needs both of your hand to work but because of it’s multitouch nature, it has extra functions and features that traditional touchscreen smartphones doesn’t have though I doubt not many people bother to use that feature anyway. Some other people might argue differently by saying there’s no point of getting a touchscreen smartphone if you’re only going to use one hand to operate it; better get a traditional keypad-type phones. For me I have to say the latter argument is weak because touchscreen offers an alternative to keypad input since writing is more natural, flexible and dynamic than typing. Speaking of writing, multitouch display isn’t as good as most people thought. For instance capacitive requires special kind of stylus if you want to write on the screen, unless you’re OK of doing so using only your finger gestures (which I prefer not to). Resistive allows virtually any tip of solid object to substitute the stylus if you lost it. I remember writing notes on iPaq PDA (anybody remember that?) using the tip of my necktie clip. Not to mention how I missed the Graffiti on the legacy Palm PDA series. It was fun and my only concern was the handwriting recognition algorithm although things keep improving each year which greatly reduced the error rate in the recognition. By the way I prefer the way Palm separated the Graffiti from the working display, because the stylus won’t get in our sight, although input on the screen works too. I also like the way Nintendo doing the similar thing on their mobile console, the N-DS where despite it adopted the dual-screen design, the user’s focus is emphasized on the upper screen while the lower, secondary display acts as a touchscreen interface for the stylus as part of the game controls. That’s why even if this iPhone 4 support some awesome 3D gaming, I won’t dedicate it for mobile gaming as how I did with my Nokia N-GAGE QD before, because I don’t like my gaming display disturbed or interfered by my fingers.

So does being the co-owner of iPhone 4 makes me more tolerant towards iProducts? Not a bit, in fact I still hate it. It took Apple three generations of iPhone before they could first came up with multitasking OS, despite the OS is a derivation of Apple’s desktop system counterpart. The only explanation I could think for this is the iPhone OS (predecessor of iOS 4), a mobile port of Mac OS X is not stable enough for multitasking (for your info, even the multitasking in Mac OS X itself took a very different approach than most other OS, which may be the culprit of why the OS initially is not suitable to be re-scaled for mobile device). I even heard there’s this issue about memory leakage or something like that, making multitasking in iPhone OS was not a good idea or almost impossible. I could say the previous iPhones are unfinished product because they’re preloaded with immature OS. Not to mention the arrogance of Apple of ignoring the current standards (eg. Flash). In my case I’m getting the iPhone 4 as a geek, not as a fanboy. This is just another hi-tech toy for me to play around, so I guess I’ll tinker around it a little more (and add some more troll in in the process).

And I don’t understand too why developers (both hardware and software) keep spoiling and favoring iProducts from time to time. It even irritates me more when they somehow has special unit or division to develop stuff specific for iProducts, as if iProducts are that important to the IT world. iProducts may be influential enough to control the tide and wind in the IT world but not jumping into the Apple bandwagon is not a bad thing either. I hope those developers didn’t doing so just because they think having Apple in their product support range is cool.

SPAM comments are funneh (Part II)


no spam!
Image via Wikipedia

I received average 1 spam comments for every article I posted here. Although Akismet spam catcher did a good job of capturing them all, it is still annoying to have to manually delete them. I know it is designed to work like that to reduce false positives but I still wish for wordpress.com to have a setting to auto-delete those spam comments because I don’t really mind even if they are legitimate comments thought to be a spam by the Akismet system. For me in false positive cases like this I’d not blame the system but rather the person who send comments that have spam characteristics. Actually having your ‘legitimate’ comments treated as spam is not a big deal. If you see the comments you posted before never appear, just post them again but with some difference. You know, when your comments got caught that way usually there are only 3 reasons behind it; the website owner are not professional enough and took offense of your comments and deleted it, or your comments are just deserved to be deleted because you said nothing but trolling, or it’s caught by the anti-spam system (either because it is an intended spam or you don’t know what you were doing is spamming). I believe I’ve seen this auto-delete spam feature in WordPress before (in the form of Akismet settings) but I can’t find the setting in wordpress.com. WordPress.com should really consider to make the option available to users if they can’t implement what I’m going to suggest below.

Now I think wordpress.com should take their spam prevention system to one step further. The existing system only catch spam only after they arrived at the comment inbox. I think the spam prevention should be done even before comments could be sent. Some websites use CAPTCHA/reCAPTCHA or similar system for this, which require the commenter to prove him/herself is a human first. So I think if Akismet could scan comments once they arrived at comment inbox, why can’t it try scanning the comments even before it was posted? Alright, I understand this might be hard to implement regardless what system is being used (CAPTCHA or Akismet). For example, wordpress.com allows comment to be posted via email which the system have no control at all. But still it’s better to have Akismet work before any spam is sent to prevent more spam rather than just working passively like it is right now, or at least eliminate them even before they could reach the comment inbox.

The Mobile Broadband Dilemma


DiGi Logo
Image via Wikipedia

Although I just subscribed to the DiGi‘s 10GB Broadband Plan but then I realized there’s no 3G connection at my neighborhood and got stuck with EDGE connection only. Not really bad but it’s impossible to use that to download anime episodes for now, at least until I move out closer to the city center where 3G is guaranteed available. Now I feel like I was deceived and stupid. It’s not entirely my fault actually. When I saw the promotion at telco shop at shopping mall nearby (very close, within a walking distance from my home) I thought it’s already available at my place here. Besides I’ve been planning to switch to DiGI Broadband for quite sometime, or to be specific since Celcom increased the price for additional quota, so I thought it was the right time to switch but I was wrong.

Recently Celcom increased the speed of their Broadband Basic Plan from 384kbps (typical 3G speed) to 512kbps. Sounds nice but actually it’s a bad news for new subscribers. People who subscribe to Celcom Broadband Basic after the upgrade took place will have to live with only 3GB worth of data transfer per month. I’m lucky as I’ve subscribed it for more than a year and I can still enjoy my monthly 5GB allocated quota. So is DiGi Broadband worth signing up? I’ve tried using it at city center and it’s indeed stable and speedy as claimed. While I never checked the authenticity of their claim of having average download speed at 700kbps (that’s even faster than Celcom’s recently upgraded download speed) I am quite satisfied that it’s indeed faster than my existing Celcom Broadband. My only hope is for them to expand the coverage soon or I’ll have to do either to stop my subscription or to move closer to the city center.

Well at least this new broadband package I just subscribed is not subject to any contract and I only pay less than 100 buck for the modem, which is way cheaper than buying it from the IT store. And the best thing is it can work with my Celcom SIM card, unlike the modem I got when I subscribed to Celcom 3G before, which is locked to Celcom. Having no contract means I can request for service termination anytime without having to return the modem back to DiGi as well as no penalty charge. Most importantly I can use the modem to replace the aging modem I got from Celcom. Anyways I’m thinking of using Celcom Weekly Prepaid Internet instead. While the daily prepaid allocated the subscribers with 384kbps speed with and 1GB bandwidth (6 bucks for 24 hours), I think the weekly prepaid is more money-saving (20 bucks per week, 2GB data). That means I’ll be paying around 80 bucks per month (at total 8GB data) or equals to 10 bucks per gigabyte of data.

iFail: The “unlikeliness” of Apple


hero1_20100414

Apple used to be technologically champion in almost everything.

  • They are the 1st to came up with a fresh GUI design when the rest of competing OSes still sporting the plain boxy chrome interface.
  • They are the 1st to deliver multi-touch on laptop touchpad and phone/tablet touchscreen.
  • They are the first to go with bold, revolutionary and radical yet simple, clean and artistic hardware design.

But all that is now history.

  • Today despite of how many iterations they made to their products such as iPod/iPhone/iPad and the OS inside, people would mostly notice only flaws and what they are lacking.
  • Apple, as a computer maker should have Macs as their no. 1 money generator, but the lack of new Macs explained otherwise.
  • There is no USB and expandable drive on iPad.
  • iPad is not recognized as a real tablet because it didn’t run the desktop OS.
  • iPhone OS lacks “real” multitasking; something that has long been supported in competing OSes.
  • With iPhone OS, Apple chose not to support Flash but only go for HTML5 instead, as if they are forcing everybody to go the Apple way although they could in fact support both standards.
  • iPods still lack of advanced sound enhancement, making them more of a geek’s gadgets rather than an audiophile’s toy for their price.
  • Not to mention iPods keep using proprietary connectivity cable instead of adopting standards like mini USB, which is very inconvenient to look for a replacement, especially as Apple store is not as widely accessible as other computer brands.
  • And even worse Apple and their fanboys see the centralized online appstore as an advantage although things are not as beautiful as they think.

Appstore forces all iOS software developers to market their apps only via Appstore and does not allow to market the same apps outside the store (ie. hosting it in their own website) while having to pay some revenue to Apple for hosted apps. The fanboys keep bragging about the superiority of the Appstore but the same fanboys would think it’s ridiculous if rivaling companies like Microsoft forces all Windows software developers to market their apps only through Microsoft. Apple also bragging about the number of software being hosted in their Appstore although in fact other platform might have much more apps available throughout the net.

Truly a one-stop solution like Appstore might be a good idea but it’s not always a good idea. It might be convenient because people only need to go to place only but in return it gives both users and developers very little choice to tinker with, making it some sort of devilish move.

  • Apple also used to be a ‘backward people’ in computing too but strangely die hard fanboys were OK with that (talking about blind loyalty).
  • They were contradicting themselves by having a long time support for context menu in their OS but weirdly enough their line of mouse used to have only one button.
  • Apple seems to don’t know about cheapness; even simple hardware like mouse and keyboards come with premium price tags.

Apple should change their business model if they really wish to take over the domination in PC market from the likes of Microsoft, Dell, HP-Compaq, etc. If they really think their Mac OS X is really superior than Windows and Linux then why not let the consumers choose by removing the vendor-locking strategy that has been protecting their reputation as hardware maker all this time? If they really confident with their own hardware then how about licensing clones and compete fairly in the open market?

The problem with Apple now is they are lacking originalities as the time goes by. They used to claim themselves as superior in terms of hardware when they used PowerPC chip in the old Macs but when they shifted to intel CPUs, their claim is now void. Before that they also used to claim that Mac OS X is superior than Windows. That maybe true in terms of good looking interface and less security threats, but that is not a fair comparison. Beauty is abstract, while security threats on Windows only shows that they are the more popular OS. In fact, Apple should not bragging about OS X. That OS is just a bunch of software package sits on top of BSD kernel. Even their hardware design also is not something to brag about anymore. If it’s design sure anybody or any company can come up with something as beautiful as theirs, if not better looking.

Mac OS X is also almost at the brink of stagnancy right now, added by the fact that no new Macs in this year, with exception of the recently updated Mac Mini. The technology used in the Cocoa API and Aqua GUI might not be supported anymore after the next few releases, which means Apple might have to adopt either Linux-flavored (rebadged Linux) OS or even Windows after a decade or two, or even earlier than we could predict. Wonder what would they brag about on that time other than their good looking hardware. Windows might be the last resort but a rebadged Linux, just like what Google did with their Chrome OS would be a really interesting idea. However, as usual with Apple, they might not adopting default GUI that always come with Linux like GNOME and KDE. Instead they might come up with their own proprietary window manager as the successor to the Aqua interface. It would not be surprising either if that GUI still retain the Aqua look.