Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So... yeah...

I just got tired of bloggers limitations and horrible dashboard design so I decided to switch over to Wordpress! Which means: new content, new look and... new url!
As always, share and enjoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

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 a notebook. I thought you might like to know my opinion about this one so here it is, iPad 3G 64 GB 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 already 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'll 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 happened to me, simply type the letters with the virtual keyboard and you are good to go.

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.

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 face the wrong direction. It only happens in that particular case which so far only Things have been using them in such a way.

So far, 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!

Monday, May 10, 2010

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.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

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.

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.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

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.

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kaltxì ma smuk!

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!