HiTek Review

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Tag Archives: iPad

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!

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.

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