HiTek Review

A tons of reviews and tips about technology product, software and hardware.

Bold move from Apple and no one notices!

This week, Apple refreshed their MacBook Air line to support the latest and greatest Intel processors. I am saddened to see no Retina Display on those machines yet, but I am also surprised to see that they dropped the price of their machines. A lot of people seems focused on how this will change everything for iPad as their new MacBook  fits right into the tablet’s price point. The funny thing in all of this is that no one seems to notice what happened on the other side. You might be able to get an Air for $899 but you can still get one for $1’479. If you wonder where this will get you, it means that you can now get a MacBook Air that is more powerful than a mid-range MacBook Pro… for less money!

No, seriously, you can!

The most powerful Air available today comes with a pretty beefy Core i7-4650U which scores 4’367 points in PassMark. In comparison, the best processor you can get on a mid-range 13″ MacBook Pros is a core i7-4558U which scores 4’116 points in the same benchmark. That is 6% slower than the Air… for $ 300 more! Why would Apple do this?

Well, the Pros still have their powerful graphics, the ability to support more memory and more ports, but for most users, those are not a necessity, specially when you consider the Airs’ mobility. 8 GB of memory is more than enough for your everyday needs and you do not need two thunderbolt ports in your living-room. So what is going on? Is this Apple’s take on the low-end market? Probably not, but it is Apple’s way of saying that something big is going on.

The last time such a price drop happened, we have seen a complete revamp of the MacBook Pro line. The classic Pros got a nice price drop and their “one more thing” was a Pro with Retina Display and a completely new design. Thinking about it, it has been a while since the last major product release. I am not saying that the Airs will go away. Apple just revamped iPad with the Air branding so I expect them to keep the name for a while. For sure though, we will see some big things soon in the MacBook Air product line. Something to bring it back on the front lines of the Ultrabook competition. Either that, or the 13″ Pros will get a big upgrade soon.

 

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Windows 8.1, The old new stuff

I remember a time where…

It has been a while since I have had the occasion to post something on this blog so, I will start with a little info about me that most of you probably don’t know. I am a developer. While I have written a lot about Apple, I mainly write Windows applications. Why? Because I love C# and the tools that Microsoft give us to do our job.Prior to last year, it was nearly impossible to write an application completely in C# for other platforms which also made it harder for my experience to be useful there too.

This means that I mainly work on Windows and Windows Phone. This also mean that I know a lot about Windows 8 and 8.1. Thus, I have an opinion about what is going on right now in the news and this is what this post is about.

There is a lot of bad press for Windows 8 and 8.1 and I just don’t get it. This is not much of a rant as it is more of an exploration of various popular opinions that seems to direct the web right now.

Lets start with a comparison that appeared back at the release of Windows 8. It goes something like this: “If the car industry where doing what Microsoft is doing, they would swap the brake and gas pedal every 3 years just to follow the trend.” There is a lot of wrong way to respond to this argument. One could say that it took 8 years for Microsoft to release Windows Vista. That is hardly “every three years”. While this is true, it is not a very useful argument. In reality, what Microsoft did with Windows 8 has nothing to do with how you “drive” your computer. If anything, they just added a new radio to your car which support Sirius and have on-steering controls. I am serious here! Let me show it to you.

Seven versus Hate

First, lets look at how many ways there are to open the start menu or start screen in each relevant version of Windows.

For Windows 7, we have:

  1. Click the start button
  2. Press the Windows key

For Windows 8, we have:

  1. Click in the lower left corner of the screen
  2. Invoke the charm bar and click on the Windows logo
  3. Press the Windows key

If anything, that is just more ways to do the same thing, which is not bad in itself. The charm bar is optimized for touch so it makes sense to have an easy way for touch enabled devices that don’t have a Windows key to show the start screen. Now let’s look at one of the things we do the most with Windows.

By default, there is 3 ways to open Internet Explorer (or any web browser) in Windows 7. Here is the list:

  1. Using the start menu: Click on the start button, click on “Internet”
  2. Using the task bar: Click on the IE icon in the task bar
  3. Using the keyboard: Press the “Windows” key, press “i”, press “Enter”

Let’s compare this with Windows 8:

  1. Using the start screen: [Go to the start screen,] click on the “Internet explorer” tile.
  2. Using the task bar: [[Go to the start screen,] click on the “Desktop” tile,] click on the “Internet explorer” icon.
  3. Using the keyboard: [Go to the start screen,] press “i”, press “Enter”

Let us take a look at what changed between the two. You will see that I have added square brackets between a few actions for Windows 8. This is because they are optional. Depending on where you are, they can be skipped. This is very important because it means one thing. Those actions are now contextual. They have to be used in a specific context. If you are in a Windows Store application, don’t go to the task bar to open your applications. For this, you will have to go through the entire chain of actions from the second entry in my list. That is 3 actions. Instead, you should use either the first or second one which are a lot simpler and faster. The same goes if you are already on the desktop. Don’t use the first solution when you can just click on an icon in the task bar.

The keyboard solution is a little special though. I have highlighted the most generic way of opening an application using the keyboard on Windows, but there is an other shortcut you can take. You can simply press the “Windows” key together with the number corresponding to the position of the app in the task bar. So by default, for our example, that would be Windows+1. This works from anywhere, even from Windows Store apps. The next important thing to know about the keyboard solution is that it is so fast (it takes less than a second to open an app with this method) that the amount of keys you press is relatively irrelevant (unless you are a very slow typist). This means that this is a very good way of opening an app even if you are on the desktop because you only have to hit one more key.

There is also a third, very important thing to know about the Windows 8 list. Since it is context based, and that the default context you are put in when you start your computer is the start screen, all of the redundant “Go to the start screen” actions are unnecessary. This is a very important thing to mention because in Windows 7, there are two ways that requires you to be in the start menu and no default context where the start menu is shown. This effectively saves one action for each way in Windows 8 making it simpler to open the application you want. Depending on the context, Windows 8 will then be faster or as fast to do this basic task so long as you use the right method for the right context.

To demonstrate my point, I have chosen the task of opening an application. This is a very important thing because it matches the initial “car industry” argument about driving your computer. The first reason for the Windows operating system to exist is to help you open applications which then let you to do your work. Yes, they changed it. Radically? Not at all. To keep the metaphor running, its as if they found a magical way to make the brake pedal automatically bigger and easier to reach when you really need it. It is still in the same place, you only have less movements to do to reach for it.

The not-so-newcomer

Now that Windows 8.1 have been announced, the news reporters are all flared up at restarting the whole Start Button / Boot to the desktop argument thing. This is ridiculous and brings absolutely nothing good to the industry. Most people will simply read the news and believe that Windows 8 is a flop just because of a missing feature that takes a lot of place in the news but not in their everyday life. I have already demonstrated that there is a start button in the lower left corner of the screen. The only thing is, you know its there. It always been. So why would you need to see it all the time! You don’t need to lose precious space in your task bar for something like that. Could you imagine how painful it would be if all of those contextual menus (the one that appears when you right click on something) would always be visible? The start button is no different. It is contextual. You don’t need to see it all the time just to remind you that you are using Windows.

I would also like to note that, there is absolutely no excuse for “not knowing how to go to the start screen” or not knowing about the charm bar (the search-share-windows-device-setting-thingy on the right of your screen). There are two reasons for this. Either you never noticed the Windows key on your keyboard or you have not seen the very obvious, single-stepped tutorial that is displayed the first time you boot your computer on Windows 8. In the first case, you should definitely take a basic computer class because there will be a lot of things you might be doing wrong and which will impede on your productivity. For the second, it means you are in a very unfortunate demographic group which buys custom-assembled computers from “specialists” who wants to make it easier on you by doing the initial setup for you. These. Ar. Not. Specialists. These are wannabe computer experts and you should avoid them as much as you can. If they are not expert enough to understand that the initial setup is to be done by the end-user (you) with them walking you through each step, then they are not worth paying for. They take away so much of the user experience of the product for you, that you might not even know how to use it in the end. This is also valid for cellphones which a lot of vendors loves to configure them for you when they first insert the SIM card in them. If you upgraded your computer to Windows 8 yourself (which is a piece of cake, really, Microsoft did a great job at it) or bought a new computer from an OEM vendor such as HP, Sony, Lenovo, Asus, Acer or Dell, then you will have to go through that initial setup, and you will have to see the tutorial. There is no way to skip it, even if you leave your computer doing its stuff for a while. It will be there when you come back.

Booting to the desktop is a whole other story though. I don’t know where this trend began, but Microsoft should have never let the user place documents on the desktop itself. They did major improvements in the way files are managed on a computer in Windows Vista. They introduced something called libraries. That was 5 or 6 years ago. This is how you should manage your file. This is the Windows way. If you don’t want to keep your files in those libraries and prefer to dump them by thousands on your desktop, then you should be using something else than Windows. I am not trying to say that you should quit using computers all together, just that there is better file management systems for you than the one Windows has in place. Considering what I have already said about the start screen being more efficient for its main task, having a whole bunch of files on your desktop is the only reason why one would want to boot to the desktop instead of the start screen.

The main reason for having a whole bunch of stuff on your desktop is because it is yours and you just know where the stuff you need is. This is also true in real life, but even if moving out of your parent’s house might have reduced the amount of times where someone would move the one little thing that you need, this is where the similarity ends. When you use a computer, you always are in your parent’s house. At any time, Windows might decide to switch your screen resolution or reorder, add or remove icons from your desktop. Gamers know this well. How many times have you lunched a fullscreen game only to see it change your screen resolution and destroy your desktop arrangement? Too many is the answer. Unless you manage your files the Windows way, that is. If you keep nothing on your desktop, this can’t happen. It doesn’t take longer to get to your important files either. This is specially true with the search capabilities Microsoft introduced, again, in Windows Vista. While in the real world, it takes a lot of time to open all of those nice and tidy folders and cabinets just to find every letter with the words “jane k. bathurst”, it takes less than a second on a computer. Just type “jane k. bathurst” in the search field and pick email or file, whatever you want. The sad thing with Windows 8 is that you lose the ability to cross search between all of you applications (emails, files, calendars, music, etc.) which is not that big of a deal because you can still search for them specifically. Microsoft still added it back in 8.1 with a new search UI that looks absolutely gorgeous and gives you the results for all of your apps, and even web pages, all at once.

Planning for the future

So, is Windows 8 just change for the sake of change? Why should you upgrade when it doesn’t “change anything”? Because that is what I have been saying, right? Well, not exactly. It does change a lot of things. They are mostly minor optimizations here and there, but here is the top reasons why you should upgrade to Windows 8 even if none of those concerns you directly.

  1. Face it, the start screen is better. It displays all of your data that you care about in one place and it handles application management way better than the old start menu. It’s a new twist on a very old concept and it is fun and very practical to use both at home and at work. If you are a fan of the notification center on your mobile phone, then you should love what Microsoft pulled with live tiles.
  2. There will be a time were you will need a new computer. No matter how long you wait, it will happen. If you are still running Windows XP, upgrading to Windows 8 will be a pain because you never had the incremental feel of getting search, libraries, new start menu features, the ribbon in built-in apps, etc. that the users who kept on upgrading had. These users had 12 years to get used to those already. You won’t. The more you wait, the tougher it will get.
  3. Developers will love you. By keeping your devices up to date, you simplify our job by reducing market fragmentation. Most of the time, it is a lot easier (and fun!) to write a Windows Store application than a classic Desktop application. But since a whole lot of you are not using Windows 8 yet, we need to write both if we want a chance to have some sales. This triple and even quadruple the time it takes to write a good application and might end up in higher price points, more bugs or less efficient designs.
  4. You will love you. If you keep on doing your updates, you will gradually get more and more efficient at doing things. Even upgrading will be easy. People will envy you for your superior computer performance and capabilities when in fact, you just use what is there for everyone. In the end, you will just have more time for yourself to do more important things than wait after your computer to do its work.

That’s it folks! I hope you enjoyed this… very large comeback. Take care and see you soon.

The tales of a Macbook Pro’s battery

Ever had problems with the battery of your Macbook Pro? Thinking that you might have to replace it already when it’s been less than a year? Oh yeah, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about, yes, you! The MBP owner over there! Well you know what! I’ve had to go through those painful and frustrating moments too, but after a while of looking at the price of a new battery at the Apple store, I decided to give my mind a try.

Backstory

I’ve had my Macbook Pro for a while now. I dropped it many times and it ended up with a dent on the side right on the network port. What a joy I had when I was hammering my 3000 $ computer to put it back in shape. But, aside from a WiFi card replacement (which costed me 27.34$ on eBay), everything was working perfectly fine. What an indestructible, sturdy piece of art! Ironically, a few months later, my power adapter, which is supposed to be THE mythical MagSafe that no one can copy or break, decided to fail.

This is were our story starts

The little LED inside the MagSafe connected started to act up. It wouldn’t switch from green to orange when charging and later simply stopped turning on all together. Did I hammered too hard? Did I really broke the computer? Well, after nearly 8 months of enduring the broken adapter, I went to the conclusion that no, the computer was fine, but the adapter was dead.

On that day, I felt like cooking something so I picked up the laptop, place a movie on it and bring it with me in the kitchen. Surprise! By the time I was done getting everything out of the shelves, the computer simply shutdown. Hard stop. Blank screen. Nada. There was still a good 3 hours remaining in the battery so, what went wrong?

It took me two months to figure out the source of the problem and a solution that, luckily for me worked perfectly well. My battery have 97 cycles on the counter. It still holds 89% of its original charge so it can’t be that its time came. It made no sense. The next day, I went to buy a new battery but when I got to the Apple store, I saw that new power adapter with the L-shaped MagSafe connector. I wanted one anyway to replace the broken one so I picked it up and at that moment, I thought: “Hey! Maybe this is the solution!”. And it was…

I simply discharged my battery completely by rebooting the computer everytime it would crash to force every last bit of juice out of it, then, I charged it back with the new power adapter. Tada! Problem fixed! But… what was the problem in the first place?

Understanding Apple’s batteries

Laptop batteries costs a lot. Apple ones even more so. It’s not a “tax” as people like to believe. They are filled with complex electronics and this adds up to the cost. Its those same electronic components that caused problems. From my testing and experiences, I can say that the way the battery provide the power to the computer is extremely complex. The battery is composed of an undefined number of cell groups which each provide enough power to run the computer at a minimal state. Each of these groups have volt-meters and amp-meters on them. They are charged one by one to reduce cell degradation. If your battery is full, all groups are at their nominal volt and amp capacity. If your battery is half full, half of the groups are dead, the other half is full. It’s as simple as that. Were it gets more complicated is to how it is managing all of that power.

As I said, those groups can provide power for minimalistic usage. When you ask for more, like when you watch a movie, it uses more than one group at a time, but always in the same order. What happens if you charged that second cell group with a broken power adapter and filled it with a bad voltage? Exactly this. You would expect the electronics to skip the group and mark it as dead, but instead the voltages mix and the motherboard protect itself from a bad power input. By forcing a complete discharge the electronics thinks that those cells are empty so they will be charged the next time you plug the computer.

Voila! This is what happens when you provide bad power to your batteries. I’m lucky it worked. I could have blasted the battery if it was really badly damaged. The moral of this story is, don’t mess with your power; make sure it’s stable.

 

Quick update – DST issue on cellphones

Those are a real pain
Have you ever got to work one hour late, or worse, early because you forgot to set the DST on your alarm? Yeah, me too. That’s why most of us uses our cellphone as our welcoming-back-to-reality alarm in the morning. They all set their time automatically according to a time server, just like our computers, and are always right… right? Well no, the protocol used to update the time over the air on cellphones is horrible. It have no confirmation bit which means nothing certifies you that your phone will update to the right DST settings.

I had a really nice bad luck, and it happened on both my iPhone and iPad. All my friends phones where all right and searching on Google shown that only a few number of people had the same problem.

Workaround
So I’ve figured out a workaround if you are using an iPhone or iPad. Most cellphone carrier will tell you to shutdown the device or to turn airplane mode on. It will not work on iDevices. If you happen to have this problem, the only way to solve it is to remove your sim card and to put it back in. That will trigger a time update and should fix your issue.

About the next post
I’m pretty busy right now, so I still didn’t had the time to write that post about protecting your iDevices yet. But rejoice as it gave me a lot of time to test a bunch of different solutions for both iPads and iPhones and I think I’ve found exactly what you want. Stay tuned for a new update.

WordPress switch
Switching over to WordPress was the best thing that could happen for me. It is so much more easier to manage posts, pages, media and everything that I don’t even know why I stayed with Bloggers for that long. But, I’d like to know it the switch has been smooth with you, readers. So, for those of you how followed me since the Bloggers days, I’d like to know how you like the new layout. Is it good enough? Is it worth paying the CSS edit upgrade and customize it a little? Would you add more stuff to it?

New mac ends up being a Pad

Yes, I followed the crowd and got an iPad.
I’m telling you, it is the best computer you will ever have. It is as portable as a netbook, as easy to use as an iPhone and as capable as most notebooks. I thought you might like to know my opinion about this one so here it is: iPad 64 GB Wifi+3G review!

This might sounds a little bit weird coming from me but I do not indent to talk about all its good points anymore than I already did. That’s what everybody talk about and we all know what they are already. So, let’s bash the iPad to make sure you know everything there is to be known about your next purchase.

Ok, we know it’s awesome, now what?
After playing with it for two days, I’ve found two major bugs and one funny glitch. All of those are local to the Canadian iPad and might not be in the other configurations. The two bugs are in fact not even related to the iPad directly. You might never notice them unless you use an external USB, Bluetooth or dock keyboard and Rogers services.

The first one is a very weird problem. You will use your keyboard like you do everyday and suddenly, an app or a website will prompt your for your password. You type your password and hit enter expecting everything to work correctly but then… Wrong password. Type it again and you’ll notice that the accented characters on the keyboard as well as various alt-key shortcut doesn’t work. As I said, you might never notice that since it only happens in passwords fields and requires your password to use accented or some very specific special characters. However, if it still happens to you like it did to me, simply type the letters with the virtual keyboard and you are good to go.

UPDATE: This is still happening in iOS 4.2 GM. I’m also suspecting it to be present with the iPhone and iPod Touch. Don’t expect it to be fixed any time soon.

The second bug is related to our wonderful cellular network here in Canada⸮ –Where is that sarcasm punctuation mark when I need it.– The iPad is advertised as letting you upgrade your plan from nothing to 5 GB per month anywhere you want, anytime you want. That is not true. If you have no data plan, the 3G logo will still appear in the status bar but you will not have any internet access… not even on the Rogers website. It means that you can’t buy a 3G plan without any access to a WiFi network. Good luck buying that plan the moment you need it stuck in the woods with no WiFi kilometres around you.

UPDATE: I had the wonderful chance to give it a run on AT&T’s network. Same. Thing.

Last glitch only appeared in Things (from Cultured Code) so far but is still a bug with the operating system itself. If a popup window appear over a toolbox, rotating the iPad will cause the toolbox to rotate facing the wrong direction. It only happens in that particular cases which, so far, only Things have been using them in such conditions.

Wrap-up
After two days of testing, that’s all the bad things I’ve found about my iPad. Next post will be about how to protect your iDevices with some very good products. See you all then!

Hands on the Apple Magic Mouse

Why you want it
Most persons just look at the Magic Mouse and see just an other one button mouse because, obviously, Apple doesn’t make any two button mouses. I really don’t know where does that thing started since Apple has been making multi-button mice for years now. Anyway, this doesn’t matter anymore because, we are back to one and don’t need anymore of them. To reuse the words of one of our friends at Apple: “The face of the product is pretty much defined by a panel of multi-touch glass”. That is exactly what it is, and believe me, it is the perfect material for a mouse. It has a beautiful slim profile that might seem awkward at first but is actually very comfortable. The reason is, it feel like using a touchpad. In fact, it is so slim that it just sit there, hollow like a ghost, under your hand. It cause your hand to end up in a very natural position which is very similar to the one you would get if you where to just let it lay with a natural curve on a table.

On a more technical perspective: the laser is very precise, there is no wireless lag since it is using bluetooth and, believe it or not but the built-in battery have around 1500 hours at constant use!

Why you will buy it
The reason why you will probably buy it is the same one that convinced me. It have nothing to do with the actual product and in fact, you can already get it for free on the Internet. It is a custom driver called BetterTouchTools and it work with both the Magic Mouse and the MultiTouch Trackpad you get on the Macbooks. This special piece of software let you discover what that mouse can really do.

What Apple doesn’t tell you about it is that even though there is only 4 “gestures” (aka: left click, right click, scroll and two fingers swipe left/right) the mouse actually supports up to 4 pressure points (11 on the Trakpad). What does that means? Well, it means that you can use up to four fingers to do some crazy moves on the mouse! Yup! 4 fingers! In fact, BTT supports 39 different gestures on the Magic Mouse and 47 on the Trackpad! And the best part of it is that they are 100% configurable. You can set them to do one of the predefined action or a keyboard shortcut. Combined with softwares like Cockpit, you can lunch scripts as macros and have complex operations (like renaming a bunch of files to match a specific scheme) in the touch of one (but probably more) fingers.

With this tool, you can laugh at all of those who buy gaming mice with 8 buttons and support macros because, yours can do a lot more than them plus, it got the looks.

The only bad point
Strangely enough, the only bad point about that mouse is what Apple always did the best: Packaging. It look nice, it is small and very space-friendly but it has two little problems. First is the way the mouse is hanging in it. There’s a glued plastic piece that hold it there and the glue has the tendency of remaining on the mouse. Second is the lack of a little transport pouch that would have been welcome considering its pretty surface that I don’t want to scratch. Plus, it could have doubled as a wiping cloth.

Understanding flash on OS X

First of all
No, I am not dead. I just don’t like to say stuff that no body want to read anyway so I kept my mouth (keyboard?) shut for a little while.

Second
Next review will be about whatever thing I’ll buy next. It will probably be an iPad or the new rumoured MacBook Pros. I can’t promise anything about this though.

Third, the reason of my post…
As many of you probably heard of already, iPhone OS 4 is coming soon and some of us, like me, already have the beta installed on their phones. Seriously, it is the best operating system I even seen on a phone since smartphone are in the market. There’s a lot of stuff in it that apple didn’t told you which can theoretically bring iPhone OS 4.0 up to par with any DESKTOP operating system out there. That’s just how great it is.

Unfortunately, all that we seem to ear about it these days are bad stuff… which is kind-off strange actually. A big majority wanted multi-tasking. Now that they’ve got it, all that we can read is stuff like: “I don’t really care about it, I would have preferred Flash that this.” Yes, this article is dedicated to you, people that doesn’t have any sense of mobile device logic.

Flash, a plague to avoid
The first reason why anybody would want to avoid Flash like a plague is about stability issue. Here’s a nice one, while I’ve been writing this article, look what popped on my screen!

See, it managed to crash while doing nothing! That little thing made me wonder so I started to investigate on was could be the reason of this crash. After running a little software called Shark, a performance analyzer tool that come with Xcode, I discovered somethings that should have remained buried. What it does it that is detect cache miss (moments when requested data is not available in cache and need to be pulled from an other cache level) in the L2 processor cache and list them.

I have exported the report to a text file and I’m providing it for you to read on this link. It is very easy to understand. The numbers to the left are the numbers of call to a function, the gibberish in the middle is the memory emplacement of the function and the text at the right is the name of the library that provided the function. Now keep in mind that this report was requested during a normal writing session. I have music playing in iTunes and a couple of software is running. Notice anything strange here? First process in the list is the mack kernel (or the OS X subsystems if you prefer). It represent roughly 14.2% of the entire cache misses which is normal. The second one though… I expected it to be iTunes since it is doing realtime audio playback and require frequent access to the processor cache but… no…

In fact, Flash Player represent 51.7% of all the cache miss that happened during this session. Basically, it means that half of the calls that the required my computer to access the RAM during the 10 seconds of profiling happened because of the Adobe Flash library. This is a very good reason to consider it like a plague as it use as much CPU time as a virus! In fact, flash player used 1 minutes 32.24 seconds of CPU time in 4 hours of not using it. As a little comparison note, iTunes only caused 4.4% of the misses and used 9 minutes 23 seconds of CPU time in constant playback during the last 4 hours.

So, what does it mean? It means that Flash is not only very hungry CPU wise but also memory wise. It also show us that it is not optimized at all and keep on doing more and more request to the system memory.

Touch is the future
Based on what we can see today, people consider touch screen devices as the way of the future. It does have a little futuristic sense to it but believe me there’s nothing impressive in them as they were in use since a good 10 to 20 years! Why am I talking about this? Because Flash is the complete opposite! Flash applications are generally built with a point-and-click interface so around 90% of them doesn’t work at all on a touch based device like the iPhone. There’s no way to access the various menus of the interface because you need to point at them and not click or tap on them. As a result even if you could run Flash on a touch based device like an iPhone, you would not be able of using it as it was not designed for this kind of usage.

Some websites like LinkedIn doesn’t use Flash and still have some compatibility issues with a touch based interface because they try to limit their content to the size of the screen and use scrollbars to let you access the rest of it instead of thrusting the web browser and letting it do it’s job.

Flash on the iPhone?
No way! Never! Not because it sucks performance wise and would drain your battery faster than light, but for the same reason I don’t want an HP Slate. It was not designed to be used with touch in the first place.

Pleasant deception

Apple event
Well. Like I thought, the last Apple keynote was indeed a very interesting one. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t bring me the new MacBook Pro’s that I expected which means that I’ll have to wait a bit more to get my hand on those magnificent new laptops. On the other side, you might remember that I said a while ago that I was planing on buying a Netbook to fill the gap between my MacBook Pro and my iPhone. I am not anymore and I’m pretty sure you know why.

iPad, the hidden capabilities.
When Apple presented the iPad, they said that it has to excel at some key points to be useful and gain market share. They so much focused on them that the keynote even got a little long at some points. What really interested me in the iPad is what they didn’t told us. For instance, how many of you heard of the Optimus Maximus keyboard? Well probably not much. Here’s little link to present the product. The company that make it also have a concept called the Optimus Tactus. By now, you should have spotted the price of the Maximus which is 2 000 USD. Now guess how much the Tactus would cost! Exactly! Too much for anyone to buy! NOT! In fact, anyone can buy it! You just need to get an iPad and install a simple application.

This is how it works, this iPad isn’t about replacing a Netbook. It’s about a whole new bunch of possibilities. I’m planing to get the 64 GB wifi model. I don’t need 3G because I have my iPhone for that, same for the GPS. I’ll buy the two docks. One for my desktop to hold it close to my monitors, and the second one will always be in my backpack. With this setup, I have an awesome student notebook and a nice third monitor for my desktop. As a little plus, I also get an environment friendly and very capable device on the go.

The iPad is all about finding your way to use it. You might buy a 16 GB WiFi model and stuck it to your fridge. That way you always have your recipes, phonebook, morning journal, weather, etc. close to you. Try to tell me that you never dreamt of that. I’ll never believe you.

Conclusion
Where everyone see an oversized iPod Touch or a device that can’t compete with a laptop, I see a lots of possibilities, fun and futuristic setups. On that word, I’ll return to my hometree.

Kìyevame ulte Eywa ngahu

Kaltxì ma smuk!

Avatar
Yeah… It’s good… ‘ish… NOT!

I saw it 3 times and I plan on seeing it two times more just this week. I’m a total bad-ass fan. So much fan that I even started to learn the Na’vi language, as you could see in the title of this post. I don’t often speak about stuff other than technology here so you might think that I’m a complete geek which is in front of the computer 90% of the time, sleep 40% of the day, eat in front of is computer to boost its computer-time/usage, listen to anime, read manga and play D&D twice a week! Well you are completely right!

BUT! I also happen to be a big fan of music, movie production and constructed language, such as Na’vi. That’s why I wanted to talk about a wonderful site called learnnavi (http://www.learnnavi.org) which have a growing community of Avatar fan but more importantly Na’vi speakers! I happen to be very active on this site, if you want to talk to me in Na’vi I’m on their forum, IRC and TeamSpeak channel whenever I’m in front/side/back/near a computer.

That’s it! Want to learn Na’vi? That’s the place.

A new Apple in 7 days
The next important thing is Apple’s latest announcement. You might remember that I was going to get a new MacBook Pro when they’ll release the Core i7 ones. That might very well be the day! So stay tuned on that. I’m gonna post a little resume of the keynote and might very well post a review of my next little gadget.

See you soon! Kìyevame ulte Eywa ngahu!

Every one apart me is a bloke

And you can’t argue with it!
No! You can’t argue with me about it and even if you want to try, and the only reason why you would want to do such a thing is that you don’t have a clue what a bloke is, then first go to this link to learn what it really means.

Now more seriously. Here’s the little backstory about it. I own a company based in Québec named “Centre de Solutions Informatiques Inc.” or C.S.I. for short. Our team is based on developers and hardware crack that follows 63 technology related RSS feeds that publish around 1 280 news a day. We are basically pure and polished specialist in computers and we’re endlessly learning and improving ourselves. Technology is everything we like, everything we do and everything we live for. We’re so enthusiast that, as I said, we’ve started a company. Yes! That’s how bad we are infected.

We’ve taken a big time looking at the market and I can assure you that in our current service zone, there is just no one that will do a better job than us for better pricing and better time. To do this analysis, we used the latest technology in marketing which is… ours beloved clients! We actually used feedbacks from our clients to build our price tags. Anyway, enough advertising and here comes the story.

One bloke in the see
I (not we) currently deserve personalized services to 2 company and around 25 persons. That’s in fact rather good. But in the end, every single one of my clients keep on… deserting me! Yes! I have absolutely no idea why, but every time they’ve got a problem, they first call me, I then friendly give them consulting and they finally go off like they suddenly knows anything about the computer world, which they obviously don’t, and make an ash of it.

This annoy me so much that it made me write this post just so that I could cool down instead of bashing through the head of one of them that did it an other time just a day before I’m writing this. I will not go into the details to respect his privacy but, he actually made Windows XP installed on an Intel Core i7 computer! Now, if you’re a bloke about computers, which I’m not, you’ll already scream at him because you know that Windows XP just can’t handle a dual core correctly. And this is not a dual core, it’s a quad with hyper-threading which make it even more difficult. You need at least Windows Vista or Windows 7 to handle all of that power correctly but WAIT! Their’s more! This computer is actually… the latest iMac.

I’m not joking. This is true, I swear that this is true! Now I’ll show you an other time that I’m not a bloke in this kind of stuff. You see, Windows XP has horrible power saving features. In fact, it doesn’t support half the the power saving features that are on that brand new computer. Now you’re probably already laughing at me saying that this is a desktop computer and that it doesn’t need power saving features! WRONG! Let me show you my point with a simple table:

Component Avg. consumption
CPU 85 watt
Memory 25 watt
Motherboard 15 watt
Graphic card 135 watt
Hard drive 5 watt
Monitor 50 watt
Total 315 watt

Now that look pretty normal, isn’t it? Nop; This is enormous! I have a server which has a very similar configuration to that and it’s doing 80. My Mac Pro is averaging 145 watts and it has 10 GB or HUNGRY fully buffered DDR2 memory and two old and not very economical Xeon 5400 series CPUs. That’s without counting the supercharged 8800 GT that benchmark like a 9800 GTX!

So, not only does he’s iMac now require a nuclear power plant to run, it also require an earth-sized power supply; which it hasn’t. The 2009 iMac has only a 365 watt power supply. Now you’re still laughing at me saying that 315 is smaller that 365. Well… Yes it is… But, this PSU only has 85% efficiency which move its maximum output to 5 watt less that the average needed. This could cause a problem.

Windows XP will basically kills my client’s computer. That’s how simple it is. By the way, if you’re interested, putting Windows Vista in it would decrease the consumption to 175 watt which is 45% less. That’s without saying that the performance would increase as Windows Vista is much better at handling multiple CPU cores.

The result
Not only this guy had an horrible services that will rot is computer on the mid/long run. It will also cost him 100 $ more to run his computer at the end of the year that it costed him if he installed Windows Vista in the first place. And here’s the interesting part: I didn’t even mentioned OS X yet. And here’s why: I’m not talking about dual booting or anything. The guy actually removed OS X 10.6 and put Windows XP in place claiming that it was a much lighter and faster operating system!

That basically means that my client, who decided to bought a Mac to give it a try, will not even see what OS X look like. Not to mention that OS X has even better power management capabilities than even Windows 7. Running Slow Leopard, that computer actually get down to 95 watt on average use which would save him 160 $ a year just in electricity.

The point
Every single one of my clients do that every single time. They always end up in my office begging for help to solve the issues that caused the idiot that they went to in the first place. And they do that, even when they are old friend of mine. I have absolutely nothing agains competition, in fact I even found it sporty, but when all the competition there is is that… I’d prefer to kick them in the face with a very, very big hammer.

Conclusion
That’s exactly why me and two of my friends started this company. We are so sure about this that we’re planing, building… no… it became hand-crafting, swinging and then throwing that hammer to their faces ourselves the best we can possibly do. We believe that average computer knowledge here in Québec sucks and we think we might just be what the province need to get up on its feet an finally learn how to appreciate that latest gadget that came out without having to ask the vendor how to turn it on.