A day without my laptop

A few weeks ago, I went to work without my Macbook’s power adapter. To make matters worse, I used my macbook on the 1.5 hour commute… Net result, I only had a 2 hours battery life for a 9 hour day.

Luckily for me – I had my iPhone (Lucky is incorrect, I always carry it). I had never considered my iPhone to be as business capable as previously owned Windows Mobile & Nokia phones, but it disproved that in a hurry.

I did have my email configured on the phone so that was not a worry. What really helped me out that day was Quickoffice, an app I had installed on my phone for over 2 months, but never had an opportunity to use.

I moved all the relevant files (2 documents and a ppt) I needed for the day, to the phone, crossed my fingers and watched my Macbook save memory state and shut off.

As far as email goes, I had no issues. The iPhone had been quite impressive handling emails since I started using it. What I did need to do was configure quickOffice to edit my attachments. This was a circuitous route that involved sending the attachment to a specific email address and then re-downloading it in Quickoffice.

I realized that day that the biggest problem with the iPhone is – that apps cannot access the file system. A very misguided sense of security.

Anyway, Quickoffice does allow quite usable editing tools, considering it is a mobile application, allowing me to finish 2 documents, and read up another couple from mail.

At the end of the day – I had to charge my iPhone in the middle of the day – the iPhone helped me retain my productivity (granted it had been a slower than average day :p).

It is obviously becoming apparent that devices like iPhones, Windows Mobile sets, and other smart(er)phones have the ability to take over from a computer for day to day tasks.

The next step should be a universal docking station, where any smartphone can be plugged in, and provide a keyboard and a large screen monitor –  I am looking forward to it.

iPhone 3.0 Update – we have copy and paste

The Live event previewing the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware started in Apple’s Cupertino time hall building at 10:30 pm IST approx today.

Apart from general promotional information about the iPhone sales – available in 80 countries and 13.7 million sold in 2008. Apple has now sold 17 Million iPhones

The feature list for the iPhone 2.0 SDK and Firmware was next

  1. In app pricing – offering developers the ability to price not just the app but for individual content. eg: magazine subscriptions
  2. Peer to Peer networks – over bluetooth powered by Bonjour (Apples Zero conf networking technology) iPhone 3.0 will automatically discover other applications over Bluetooth, and there’s no pairing involved
  3. The Maps API would be opened up to developers allowing developers to embed Google Maps in theri applications
  4. Core Location would now be available to developers to build turn-by turn directions into their apps, but as they cannot use maps due to licensing reasons, developers would have to provide their own maps.
  5. No background processing BUT there is now support for Push notifications. Notifications would pass through an Apple server. Applications can pass badges for icons (letting users know of waiting messages or IMs etc.)
  6. 1000 API’s to be made available for developers – Ability to access the music library and access email from within an app.
  7. A lot of games and apps are demoed– showing off notification and true multiplayer over wifi
  8. COPY AND PASTE IS COMING TO THE iPHONE 3.0 (YAY) Two finger tap to select and a bubble overhead with options
  1. By the way Copy and Paste works across all applications (third party as well), and images
  2. Landscape keyboard in all applications – Mail and SMS
  3. SMS Forwarding has been added finally as well as deleting individual and multiple messages
  4. And we have MMS 🙂
  5. An apple developed Voice Memo application – No voice dialing though
  6. CalDAV support for calendar and ability to add subscriptions
  7. Global Search – including support for Messages, web, and itunes Song library (based on Apple’s Spotlight technology) And support for Applications as well
  8. 100 new features will arrive with this firmware including
    1. Sync notes with your Mac
      Shake to Shuffle your playlist
      Stereo Bluetooth
      Safari will support autofill and antiphishing technology

So when is this available –

  • The developer beta – available immediately
  • Official release – This summer – which might mean – June

The release is free for iphone users and $9.95 for Touch users

I guess Im a installing the beta soon…

CNET Live link here

So still not tethering and flash, but still this makes the phone the best out there in my opinion…

One month with the iPhone

So about a month ago, I did it. I took the leap and bought an iPhone, – in the process selling my Nokia E71, my Nokia E61, and my imate Windows Mobile.¬†Didn’t¬†end up putting in too much money out of pocket, plus took advantage of Vodafone offer of Rs. 500 off my phone bill for 10 months – effectively my iPhone 3g 8GB only cost me about Rs. 1500.00, so very thrilled..

After living with this phone for an even month РI am willing to effectively disown my own post written August last year. Sure there are some glaring flaws Рnot least of which the inability to copy and paste, and forward an SMS which are the only ones Р which really bother me.

The development platform that the iPhone SDK has empowered, really impresses me. Wether it is ¬†an application like Ocarina, which turns the iPhone into the wind instrument by the same name, or Midomi,¬†which¬†does a fantastic job of¬†identifying¬†music that I have without any ID3 information. The fact that this is the first phone I have had that supports (almost) 3D gaming with games like ‘Hero of Sparta’ and ‘Super Monkey Ball’ . So much so that I paid for them…

That’s not to say that the free apps are not good – Stanza, a beautiful ebook reader that can plug into the Gutenburg free library and download books, as well as sharing them from my Mac. WifiRemote Lite which allows me to use the iPhone as a trackpad.

What about Jailbreak-ing – I did Jailbreak my phone twice, and found that the only app I needed to jailbreak for was a Keyboard extension that enabled copy and paste. I actually found my Jailbroken iPhone running slower (not tested scientifically but my impressions).

The last word – Im happy, I think my 6 monthly phone upgrade cycle may actually have ended. And the next upgrade would be to an iPhone with improved hardware 🙂

Unlock your iPhone 3G

So.. it has finally happened. An application known as yellowsn0w has made it possible to unlock the iPhone 3G and use it with any network of your choosing.

Unlocking requires Jailbreaking your iPhone and then using the Cydia application installer to install yellowsn0w. Post installation it is a matter of removing the sim card and pushing a button. Voila .. unlocked iPhone.

Steps to unlock iPhone

  1. Update iPhone to version 2.2 firmware
  2. Run Pwnage
  3. Add the relevant Yellosnow repositories to cydia
  4. Download and install Yellowsnow
  5. Remove the Sim, run Yellowsnow
  6. Put in new sim.
  7. You’re done

So as I wait to purchase my iPhone 3g goodness, those of you who have it can unlock it for worldwide use.

🙂

Life imitating Star Trek

How many people amongst us remember the crew of the USS Enterprise D running into an alien ship, – Up the ship’s captain comes in the viewscreen, and the message goes out – “¬†DaHjaj ‘oH QaQ jaj Da¬†”. The magical universal translator would kick in and convert it to ” Today is a good day to die” and the Klingon warbird would blow the Enterprise and its wimpy captain Jean Luc Picard to smithereens… Ok, Ok so i escaped into a bit of fantasy there – the destruction of the Enterprise D that is.. The first part though fantasy no more…

Thanks to Cisco and its Telepresence¬†products videoconfrencing has become an absolute reality. Crystal clear picture and call quality and screen sizes actually belay the fact that parties may be on seperate sides of the world. The newest feature that Cisco is working on right now for telepresence is icing on the cake though,as Cisco¬†will add real-time translation to its TelePresence high-definition conference technology next year, enabling people in several different countries to meet virtually and each hear the other participants’ comments in their own languages.

The service which would be rolled out in the second half of 2009, would be initially available in 20 languages, across a spectrum of continents and languages including Asia, European and Western languages.

Cisco is also planning to bring Telepresence to the consumer masses around the same time, making video-calling an ubiquitous reality Рthis was something that was hoped to have been achieved by 3G services worldwide, but video-calling never really caught on.

The translation system will be able to scale beyond two-way meetings, according to Cisco. In a press confrence demonstration on 10th of December Cisco executives gave the example of a TelePresence session among participants from four countries, speaking in four different languages. Each would be able to hear and read everyone’s words in his or her own language, they said.

 

Around the same time that the translation system becomes available, Cisco will offer a transcription feature  to perform speech-to-text conversion of video content. This will create a searchable word-for-word transcript and allow users to go directly to the spot in a video they want to see.

Parallels 4.0 for Mac released on tuesday

www.parallels.com

With this release my need to run a seperate windows laptop has come to an absolute end.

Parallels allows me to run my last remaining XP licence in Leopard and use the 3 or 4 Windows products i cannot get replacements for, and I have to use, Access, Live writer and Neverwinter Nights 2 (It runs beautifully).    So while parallels is running NWN keeps dyeing post the movie.. Ian, Frank, sorry guys no D3D support as yet.

Improvements include speed boosts, (havent tried these yet), An intelligent Hypervisor Load balancer and a virtualisation engine that consumes 15-30 percent less resources. (I have noticed previously too, running a virtual machine on osx is less stressfull than on my Mac)

I can play games as DX9, Pixel Shader 2.0 and OpenGL 2 are now properly supported (hopefully)

Coherence is also cleaner, with the items in the windows tasjbar, moving to the Mac menubar.

The best feature in my opinion though is the Safe mode, a Kind of Sand box if you will. Everything runs exactly as normal, except at the end of the VM session you get an option to save the changes to the VM or not….

I guess I will be downloading the trial tonight and trying it out… The Migration to the Mac is hopefully complete.

Will you get an iPhone legally?

On the 22nd of August, Apple in conjunction with Telecom partners worldwide will be releasing the iPhone in 15 Nations worldwide. India, Singapore and the Philippines lead the rush in Asia while the Czeck republic is added in Europe not forgetting 8 Latin American Countries.We can truthfully¬† say that Apple is truly taking over the cell phone market…

What is hard to understand about this phenomenon is the price difference though, and speaking from an Indian consumers pointof view,I will possibly not be purchasing the iPhone 3G, I am very happy with my Nokia e71.

When the iPhone was first launched, almost a year ago, it was something exciting, frankly something worth having, and it was a desirable piece of technology…

It was so desirable that it was available Jailbroken and illegally and very easily in India. And the best thing about this was that the price was actually quite reasonable, – an unlocked 8GB iPhone could be had at a street price or Rs 20,000 – 22,000 (approx $400) which was almost the price it was available for in the US (After the first price slash). If you had someone coming from the US, even cheaper…

So when people heard that with the launch of the 3G and the $199 price,¬† customers expect a similar if not the same pricing… It was a big surprise to consumers, – infact even causing a bit of international attention by pcworld – when the pricing for the 8GB and the 16GB models was announced at Rs 31,000 & Rs 36,100 respectivly.. And while no one has mentioned you can bet on the fact that there will be a VAT on top of this, not to count usage charges.

Wow…

This puts the price of the iPhone solidly at $823 Far above the price that just about any country is paying for it… Bear in mind that these prices are for the phone only.. No data or voice OR ANY OTHER SERVICE THAT MAKES THE 3G GREAT, as India does not have any 3G yet, and no visual voicemail. Both the carriers who are offering the iPhone, Vodafone IN and Bharti Airtel have mentioned that all of the iPhone services will not be available, without mentioning which services in particular will be affected. No special data plans for the iPhone have been released either.

Another problem is that, both carriers would be selling the phone locked to the network. The first experience for Indians with this was with the Blackberrys which were not subsidised in price either. The carriers are getting away with basically screwing the customer… Its a known fact that worldwide a network locked phone is made available at a far more subsidised rate that its unlocked varient, hence the whole point of network locking.

Apple is not helping either, while the Apps store is available in India, ( It has been available since the launch of the app store for purchasing apps for the iPod Touch) the iTunes store for purchasing music is not enough available.

India’s economy may be driven by the desire to “Keep up with the Joneses”. It is this attitude that is fueling the unmitigated desire of companies to drive this type of pricing without providing a Quality of service. Sharninder over at Nomadic Rider made a valid point that Fanboys will be just that… but I think Fan Boys also gotta wakeup…

A 19″ Monitor and Games a plenty

This weekend, I finally did it, I recreated my home-media-server machine into a Roaring Gaming Monster (Well little one anyway).

Over the past 2-3 Months I had slowly added more and more to this machine.. so much so that it now has more than 1500 GB of Storage capacity, Granted almost 1 TB is taken up by media and assorted data.

This Server is connected to all the 5 Computers in the house is constantly on, and serves my media collection to my tv as well.

Sexy setup… but the problem was, my laptops, even though they are ludicrously overpowered when compared to my first pc (1990) or my second pc (2000)… I wanted a larger screen to play Jade Empire, and Gears of War (havent got to Crysis yet)

Also my brother has a thing for Flight Simulator …

So Upgrade time… First things required a monitor for this headless server – A 19″ Viewsonic VA1912W was just right, with a dvi input, it was perfect for even watching HD movies when connected to my MacBook or My HP TX2009.

Second Upgrade – Graphics Card, Now I wanted something that could play my games – Most demanding one being GOW… But at the same time I didnt want to spend too much… After a bit of research and a boo boo.. I settled on the Nvidia 8600GT

Before I could get my card though… I made a mistake, a mistake which cost me a whole day of gaming.. I misread a port on my MB and picked up a sick (as in ill) AGP Card… Oh well lost out the 15th of August (everything was closed in Delhi)… Oh well, I just Installed all the games I wanted on the Friday.. (BTW Vista Ultimate – Damn good for games, didnt find out until ¬†after though, on my Onboard graphics it was a little sucky (like the lemon)

Anyway.. 16th meant a trip to Nehru place and a quick Swap… Very understanding Shop Owner – I recommend SMC International in Nehru Place btw to anyone, Competitive pricing, and almost every old and latest tech you could want, damn good for component shopping – and I was on my way home with a MSI NX8600GT 512MB based card… and a bigger power supply (Cooler Master – Very quiet) for good measure.

This card is silent, does not have a fan, and works by distributing its heat across heat pipes, it is fast and can drive all my games at the monitors highest resolution 1440x (I cannot remeber how big but it is huge)

Saturday evening and Sunday were spent in playing games and having fun like I havent had in a while…

The only problem that is there now, is that there is going to be a fight as to where this machine is going to be kept, once just about everyone want to play their favourite game.

 

For those who are interested here is the current Setup (Vista Rating of 5)

  1. Asus P5MX (Well it was just supposed to be a file server when I started)
  2. Intel P4 3 GHZ with Multithreading
  3. 2 GB DDR2
  4. MSI NX8600GT
  5. Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse
  6. Logitech Internet Keyboard
  7. 1 Seagate 750 GB SATA Primary (2 Partitions)
  8. 1 Seagate 250 GB SATA Secondary
  9. 1 Seagate 80 GB IDE
  10. 1 LG DVDRW IDE
  11. 1 USB 250 GB Seagate MyDisk
  12. 1 USB 160 GB Seagate MyDisk
  13. 1 USB 100 GB Lacie Harddisk
  14. Viewsonic 19″ VA1912W
Come and meet me for a Game online