Saturday, June 26, 2010

My phone front

Have you ever seen such a stylish iPhone front? Only one page of apps, and even that page mostly clear, due to folders.
And of course the beautiful but understated wallpaper photo. 

Calibre and the pad (updated)

The unique ebook (ePub) handling and news/articles-fetching app calibre (preferred spelling is with a lower-case c) is now updated to work automatically with uploads to the iPad, so I'm trying it again.

They also refined the logo. Old on the left, new on the right.  Very nice:

calibre is a very clever app. There are scripts for a ton of web sites, so it can extract just the articles and present them in readable form. I've had people make me custom scripts for my favorite sites like TOP and Luminous Landscape. And both those and other sorts of ebooks in the broadest sense, it will convert to a readable format for whatever e-reader you use, Sony, Kindle, iPad, etc.

(Update/explanation) You select what you want from its long list of news sites and magazines, and it fetches the content from the web as often as you like. And then when you plug in your preferred deviced, it's uploaded automatically to with each Update being an "ebook" of collated articles, with linked headlines, each publication separate. In the case of the iPad, it uploads to Apple's iBooks reader, which gives the best reading experience I've tried yet with calibre. 

iPh cam comp

A reader was asking about comparisons between the camera in the new iPhone 4 and those of other smart phones. Here we go. (Summary: it does really well, even against some with more pixels.)
"Apple said the quality of the camera parts is more important to capturing good photos than a high megapixel count. Our lab’s test results support that theory, showing that a 5-megapixel camera can shoot higher quality images than an 8-megapixel camera."

It amuses me to think that in theory you can work as a journalist with only an iPhone 4 and a foldable keyboard. The photos and video are certainly good enough for web use, you can write on it with no trouble, I've tried, and you can email in the results to your editor, or post it yourself in various ways. And of course it's a phone too, in case a journalist ever needs that. That's just ridiculous for something you can have in a pants pocket. (My ThinkOutside foldable keyboard fits easily in a pants pocket, it does not even have to be a large pocket.)

Remember JenniCam?

Remember JenniCam? As big as Amazon, in the nineties. Imagine if she'd been pretty too.

I get the same feeling from the very little I've seen of "cam sites" as from the very little I've seen of "reality" shows: it bores me to tears. If I want to see and hear ordinary people discussing ordinary things, I don't have to use fancy digital technology, it's all around me.

Another thing which bores me: blending gadgets. Every time a new gadget appears, millions of people want to see it perish in a blender. Me, I felt that once I'd seen it once, I'd pretty much seen it.

Jan says:
Strangely, I actually liked JenniCam. I even have a sticker "I'd rather be watching JenniCam". I shit you not.
Unfortunately she stopped taking care of her looks and body, gained a lot of weight, stopped being interesting and quit.
I would be interested to hear about her again, but according to Wikipedia she keeps a low profile now.


Meditation, iPhone

Well, the meditative project that felt like it should take weeks seems to pretty much have been handled in an afternoon. Still trying to relax though.

Wow, that iPhone is beautiful. I can even read on it. If the next gen iPad has that kind of screen, and is half the weight of the current iPad... holy manana, it's the Jetsons.

I understand why Apple in recent years is so much in love with all-metal products. They really seem like high-end products. Luxury. But it's a problem with weight. Apple, please find a solution to this for tablet and notebook products, all right?
The Kindle is selling really well despite being made of mundane plastic and yet not being cheap. Apple, I'm sure you can make plastic seem like a million bucks if you put your minds to it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Privacy through Prepaid Credit Cards

Privacy through Prepaid Credit Cards, article.

Ah those fanboys

Fun video about partisan tech discussions.

An announcement

I have decided that I have over-dosed on Internet distractions, so I've decided to take a sabbatical from it. I need to quiet down my mind.

So for an unknown period (couple days, couple weeks, couple months? Lord knows), I will have my computer shut down most of the time, I will cut back drastically on blogging, using Twitter, etc.  I'll try to only answer email a couple of times per day, and only answer essential ones.
My commercial sites will be run like usual, of course, that's a business obligation.

If you would like to be notified when blogging is resumed normally, sign up for my Twitter feed, or mail to my Gmail address, which is eolake.

My perception is that I'm going through a highly positive development, just one which for a while requires more peace.

Much appreciate all of you, see you later.

Tip for international iOS users

If you buy an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, and you happen to be a user of the iTunes online store in more than one country, take note which country's store you're viewing in iTunes when you plug in the device for the first time. Because this will be the country the device will register with, and you will be forever barred from purchasing or even updating free apps from anywhere else. The only option out is to delete everything on the device and do a full restore.

A said:
I have iTunes accounts for 3 different countries and I've never had any problems buying apps from the different stores on the same device (iPhone or iPad) and I update the apps from the different countries all the time. Yes, having to switch the account with which you are logged in is a pain, but it's not impossible.

iPhone screen rez, etc

I doubt we'll ever need screens with higher resolution thant the 327 pixels per inch that the new iPhone has. Even with reading glasses, I'm not even near able to see everything it can resolve. If I use a loupe, lots of new details resolve, for example in the tiny icons inside a folder icon.
Are there really people with eyes so good? If so, I envy them.

Apropos the folders, I like them. I found the old system of many apps strewed over many screens to be highly confusing. Now I have reduced all my apps into three folders on one screen, and three or four icons in the dock. (Maybe it's not called a Dock on the iOS, but who gives a flying f**k, it's the same thing, just like the Task Bar on Windows.)

BTW, I'm very surprised to hear that iPod Touches are outselling iPhones! To me, the iPod Touch is a weird compromise: it's not a phone, it's not a tablet, and it's not a good iPod (the controls are much more finicky than the classic iPod, much more difficult to control precisely). 
Steve Jobs seemed a bit surprised himself, when he mentioned it.

A riddle

[Thanks to old-time reader Signalroom.]

A man is dating three women and trying to decide which to marry. He gives each of them $5,000 to see what they do with the money.
The first has a total makeover. She goes to a fancy salon, gets her hair, face and nails done, and buys several new outfits. She tells him she has done this to be more attractive to him, because she loves him so much.
The second buys the man a number of gifts. She buys him a new set of golf clubs, some accessories for his computer, and some expensive clothes. She tells him that she has spent all the money on him because she loves him so much.
The third woman invests the money in the stock market. She earns several times the $5,000. She gives him back his $5,000 and reinvests the remainder in a joint account. She tells him she wants to invest in their future because she loves him so much.
Which one does he choose?
Answer: the one with the biggest boobs.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

iPhone 4 camera test

I must say I'm positively surprised by the 5MP camera in the iPhone Four. I would not complain about this quality in a normal compact camera. Well done, Apple.

Firstly, the front camera for self-portraits is a horse of a different hue, and not a good one: don't use it for photos, only for video, and only when necessary. It's much, much "worser" than the back camera:

... And it's only 480x640 pixels, less than a third of a megapixel! No wonder I look distressed.

The front camera though in good light, wow:

Outstanding quality for a pea-sized camera.

In low light, pretty good also:

... Sure, you can tell it's small-sensor work, but it's useable.
The plants picture had a little shadow-lifting done in Photoshop. Otherwise, pictures are as-is.

I would say that for the first time ever I have a phone which includes a camera which makes me feel like I also "have a camera" with me.

I'm also surprised to say that the touch-screen actually make it easier, it seems, to take shake-free pictures. It needs only a butterfly-wing's touch. You don't need to press and overcome resistance.
I transferred the photos to my Mac via "Image Transfer" which comes with OS X.

Is the iPhone 4 a good take-everywhere-camera? It's a big subject. I'd say if you're a architecture photographer or landscape photographer who makes meter-broad prints, no.  If you're an amateur who just like to take pictures and put the good ones in web galleries and print some as 8x10 inches, yes. 

Sweet and sour

I just got my iPhone 4 today. It's an amazing product. It really is. Just the feel of it is amazing. And it's soooo advanced.
Love it. Honestly.

And of course, this being planet Earth, there has to be a few brain-dead details, like:
  1. The earphone cord is too short to reach from my pants pocket to my ears. 
  2. The charging cord is too short to reach from the floor power socket to my table.  (What the f**k is it with Apple and too-short cords?)
  3. There was a tiny leaflet with instructions on all kinds of things... except how to find a carrier, and how to put in the micro-SIM card. In other words, how to get the whole thing started. iTunes refused to do anything before this was done but... no instructions. 
  4. Is this not just so goddamned typical? 

Update: Turns out the too-short earphone cord was from another iPod. The one which came with the iPhone (and which has the handy little controller near the top which they all should have) is thankfully longer. 

"Head" office

They say that this, seriously, is Viagra's makers' head office.

If that's true, well at least they have a sense of humor about themselves.
But with that kind of income, they can afford to!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jobs on D8

The recent All Things Digital interview of Steve Jobs is now available on iTunes for free. It's really good.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A different kind of news source...

(Click for big pic. Well, slightly bigger. It's not like they can afford the bandwidth of a decent size.)

Targus leather case

Targus Hughes Sleeve for iPad.

I really don't need this, but lawd, it's a beautiful product.

In praise of unitasking

In praise of unitasking, article.
A few weeks into using an iPad, your behavior starts to change. You don't keep one ear open for that alert sound. You realize that you'll survive if you miss a funny tweet. You sink into a chair and read an article from start to finish.

... And like he says, sadly it's temporary. iOS4 is already here for the iPhone and Touch, and will be for the iPad in late summer. Sigh.

Now the Snow Dome is "retro"?

Now the Snow Dome is "retro"?

No, it's not the original 15-inch flat-panel iMac. The screen is an iPad. And the guy has built speakers into the dome.

You know, I sorta liked the dome iMac. I almost wish I had space for a museum of the gadgets I have a soft spot for.
Hahaha, wasn't it funny when Steve Jobs talked so feelingly about how the drives wanted to be horizontal, so "let's let the individual parts be what they want", and how this was much better than the all-in-one computers the competitors had built. And then the next iMac, everything was vertical!

New pad browser

I haven't tried this yet, but it seems like there's some fresh thinking going on, that's nice.

While padding here, let me add my voice to those who are saying that a lot more synchronization could happen over wireless. For example, why can't the iPad pull down fresh episodes of my subscribed podcasts automatically, instead of only when plugged into my computer? This could be either from my Mac or directly from the Net, I don't care. But it should easily have the ability.

Nook Wi-fi (updated)

Nook Wi-fi: an ebook reader for $150! (And only $50 more to include 3G.) Kewl.
I don't know so much about the Nook, but some healthy pricing competition is clearly needed in this market. Over $400 is just too much for a Kindle.

You know, if it were me, I'd go "Gillette" on their ass, and sell my device for $99, sell millions, and earn the money on ebooks. 

An iPad that provides Wi-Fi connectivity for itself and four other devices?

An iPad that provides Wi-Fi connectivity for itself and four other devices? Yes. A serious hardware hack though.

Monday, June 21, 2010

iOS 4 is out

The iOS 4 (for iPhone, iPod Touch, and later for iPad) was released today. I installed it on my iPod Touch, and had to try it with a compact bluetooth keyboard right away (video).

I also tried the new iBooks app for the little devices, and read a bit of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. Holy frig, what a wild book.

I could live with reading on the pod, you know, while waiting ten minutes here and there. It's not bad.

The Good the bad and the ugly-Theme music/Live

The whistling is well done. I wonder if the original also simply had a man whistle with his mouth.

Turnaround is fair

Melissa had just received her driver's license. To celebrate the special day, the whole family went out to the driveway and climbed into the car for her first official drive. Dad went immediately to the back seat, right behind the newly licensed driver.

"I'll bet you're back there to get a change of scenery, right?" Melissa said to her dad. "After all those months of sitting up here, teaching me how to drive?"

"Nope!" Dad replied. "I'm back here for revenge! You've been sitting back here kicking my chair while I've been driving for years. Now it's my turn!"

Strippus interruptus

Strippus interruptus. Purty funny, as far as it goes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thomson Airways Safety Video 2009

A quiet morning

I went to bed early last night (unlike most Saturday nights where the wild parties go on at least until 9.30), and I got up before five.

It's a gorgeous morning with sun and just the right temperature, and man, it's quiet. I love it. Even with the windows open, virtually no traffic to be heard, no kids yelling (sorry, "playing"), no noffink.