Daylight Savings taking hour of sleep away

November 8, 2010

I understand that companies aren’t infallible, which is probably a lesson that many Apple zealots can probably learn. I’m also not a software engineer by any stretch.

But getting an alarm to go off at the right time of day is probably something that would be easy to implement.

Yes, I’ve been raging for the past month when Australia switched times due to Daylight Savings, as my alarm has been going off an hour early. This is a bug in the software in where reoccurring alarms haven’t adjusted properly to Daylight Savings and it has also affected people in the UK, but with the opposite instance of alarms going off an hour late.

Apple’s response?

“We’re aware, here’s the workaround and a fix will be available soon

That was reported on October 7. It’s now over a month later, which means that we will have to wait for the iOS4.2 update, which is meant to address many other bugs, such as the security vulnerability.

I can understand that fixes take time to make, however Apple’s laid back attitude to rolling out a quick fix is nothing short of arrogant. What of those corporations which have rolled out fleets of these devices and have to sit around with their iPhones in safes to ensure their devices aren’t compromised?

This is indicative of Apple’s bullshit attitude to customers in general, I feel. Yes, they love their customers and try to give them the best possible product, but when they have gone and honestly fucked up, they sorta shrug and say “deal with it until we’re ready”

Adjust your alarm. Ignore the possible security problem. Hold your phone correctly. Move to a country that doesn’t have Daylight Saving.

Up yours, Apple. Zealots might be able to swallow your blatant abuse, much in a similar way to a battered wife, or someone with Stockholm Syndrome, but not me. I buy things with the understanding that it will perform as it should when you take it out of the box – without having to account for alarm eccentricities or having to augment it with a bumper.

I half expect fellow Apple users to tell me to simply be thankful for the alarm going off at the wrong time:

“Apple are making sure you’re on time for work”

Sucks to be in the UK then, I guess.


Magic trackpad… seriously?

September 7, 2010

I really don’t know what to make of this. The Apple Magic Trackpad.

Again, there’s that word. Magic.

Anyway, the website rhetorically asks:

Why should notebooks have all the fun?

Fun.

I’m really not sure that trackpads are for “fun”, really. Trackpads, in my view have always been a compromise. A workaround for when you didn’t have the luxury of desk space. Yet, Apple seems to think that the trackpad is the solution, both for desktops and for laptops.

I had to ask myself, would I find a use for such a piece of hardware? SUrely, it might come in handy for when my desk gets cluttered, or when I… um… don’t want to… um…

Hmm.

But then I decided to see whether it would be more economically, space wise, for one of these. THe Magic Trackpad measures in at:

  • Length: 5.17 inches / 13.13 cm
  • Width: 5.12 inches / 13.01 cm
  • Height: 0.18 – 0.72 inches / 0.46 – 1.83 cm

In comparison, my regular USB mouse is (estimation):

  • Length: 11cm
  • Width: 6cm
  • Height: 3cm

So, thats an area of 180 square centimetres versus 66 square centimentres. Okay, so you move a mouse around on the surface as well, I can hear people asking. Surely that takes up a fair bit of room?

Not really. I used the highly scientific method of “using my mouse on a furry cushion so that the area I used gets flattened and you can see the area of use” and I think I added maybe 2 cms both across and along my mouse area, which means that a mouse, in my book is still more efficient, spacewise by about 76 square centimetres.

Apple claim that the track pad allows people to use gestures. If you look at the site, though, can you really tell me that what it offers is superior to the regular mouse?

I doubt it.

I haven’t seen the sales figures of this peripheral yet, so I don’t know if people have bought into this bullshit. If they have, then it’s just another reason to despair for this flailing species that will eventually throw itself into pits of lava, only because it’s fashionable to do so.


Woo-guy

September 3, 2010

The typical widely broadcast of church went out the other day, for the typical scheduled music-centric Apple event a couple days ago. I haven’t viewed it, but heard a brief clip on the Buzz Out Loud podcast in where God shows his new gift to man, the iPod Nano.

Yep, typical Apple form. Say what you like about the iPod, it’s Apple’s saviour.

I get the distinct feeling that since the unveiling of the iPhone way back, God has liked the sound of people cheering in amazement. Sure, it used to happen when he unveiled new laptops and the like, but the iPhone event seemed special. Nobody had ever seen anything like it before, and it had brilliant ideas. Yes, it used existing technology but it was polished into something sexy.

But since then, everything Apple has unveiled at these press conferences, people have seen it before. They expect it. Apple has blown their minds and it’s hard to get excited about yet another touchscreen device.

I get awkward watching keynotes with Jobs these days. He’ll stand on stage, showing off a feature that he clearly thinks is tops, and the audience will remain stone cold silent. There’s this moment of awkward as Steve stands there beaming down upon his parish and the response seems to be a large, “… and?”

This, I think, has given birth to Woo-guy.

He’s there, I think, to plug that gap where Jobs delivers a punchline, and nobody responds. That silence is his cue to Woo up and fill that void. Normally, an audience would cough and the performer would move on, but not at Apple events. No. When there’s no sense of wonder at the product, Woo-guy jumps up and makes sure the congregation knows when to cheer.

He features briefly at this keynote

You can also hear one enthused clapper early on, when the entire audience seems to be politely acknowledging.

I mean… cheering a simple clip? Really? Is it that amazing that you can clip the Nano onto your person?

I look forward to hearing Woo-guy at future keynotes, and I sincerely wonder whether this guy also follows God into meetings to make sure that everyone is in a state of suitable quiet awe for when Jobs walks into the room.


It’s Nineteen Eighty Four (and I feel fine)

August 27, 2010

Firstly, I understand that a patent isn’t necessarily an intent to develop, however there’s much ado over Apple’s latest foray into jailbreak controls.

The news reports that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has expressed concern over Apple’s patent which would allow the company to “… spy on its customers and control the way its customers use Apple products.”

They’ve coined the term “traitorware” which to me only screams of a company desperate to coin a phrase and be counted as relevant.

Time will tell if the term sticks. I can already see the term being brandished by Apple haters whenever a new iDevice is launched onto the public.

It should be noted that Android has a “kill switch”, however I believe that is limited to apps only, and not necessarily brick your entire phone, or as the wowsers would have you think Apple is doing, invading your home.

What I find curious about the whole alarmist idea of your iPhone and iPad spying on you is the notion itself and how it relates to Apple. The idea that there are eyes watching you all the time, monitoring your behaviour, freeing you from the tyranny of choice.

Reminds me of an old advert:

Steve Jobs gives his latest keynote, describing the latest, magical device.

Oh dear. Tell me isn’t so. Let’s not forget those people who will leap to the defence of their beloved corporate entity…

iPhone launch day, and eager fans camp out overnight

I guess this would be to suggest that Apple is some kind of large, evil corporate, bent on controlling the world through any means possible…

I just think it’s amusing that Apple is effectively becoming the precise thing it derided way back in 1984.

The masses are all standing agape, confident that everything is doubleplusgood and convinced that two plus two really is five.


Which new mobile?

August 25, 2010

I have another year left on my contract for the iPhone 3GS that seems to still be happily playing my songs and browsing my internets. There’s still another 10 months left, so I might as well start perusing the market and see what’s coming up.

Android is looking increasingly appealing, and is growing to a point where it will be well supported by both manufacturers and developers. It’s good to know that anything purchased in this  Google domain won’t end up Buzzing out and Waving goodbye.

However, the videos I’ve seen on Windows Phone 7 look promising. MS might have finally realised that people don’t want Windows mini, no matter how much manufacturers try to glam up the front end.

*cough*

*cough*

I’ve looked at how I’ve used my current device, and I’m actually quite surprised at what’s been happening.

Basically, I’m spending sweet sod-all time actually talking to people and more time idly browsing websites and killing time/discreetly looking up facts to dazzle people with my knowledge on any given subject.

I’ve used the iPhone 4 briefly, and liked how the screen was very clear and sharp, but considering that no matter how clear the text is, on a 3.5 inch screen, it’s still squint-o-vision.

The iPad delivers a nice big screen for internet browsing. But really. The iPad is useless to me. Not useless in general, as I’m sure plenty of other gaping idiots have found a need for a device that is neither a phone nor a laptop and managed to crowbar it into their lives. It’s just useless to me.

I listen to some tech podcasts, and I’ve heard many people mocking this particular item.

Ooh, yeah… work it baby…

The Dell Streak. It’s massive. It makes calls. It browses the web. Phone calls would be like talking to a bathroom tile, or a stack of business sized envelopes.

People point and laugh at it.

But I like it, and I can see a definite function for me. Sure, it’s running a version of Android that is so old that it doesn’t even have maps, but for what I seem to be using my mobile device for, this would be perfect.

By the time I’m ready to get a new mobile, this would be mature enough to pick up and run, and might even be cheaper. Its size might be a concern, but I’d have to wait until I get a hands-on with it.

Dell… if you’re reading…

Of course, if Windows Phone 7 comes on a suitably sized device, I’d have to re-evaluate.

But the main bonus of this thing is that I’d have to use my brain at quiz nights. It’d be impossible to cheat without the whole room knowing about it.


Perseverance

August 23, 2010

I was helping out an iPhone user the other day. She obtained a new 3GS (run out sale, probably), and having cut her mobile phone teeth on Nokia’s for the better part of last decade, she was struggling to grasp how her new gadget worked.

I walked her through the various ins and outs of the device, trying to get everything set up for her. She was confused as to which password the device was asking for when it came to setting up her email, to which I immediately wondered if the iPhone was the best phone for her.

She wasn’t technologically savvy, and while the iPhone is catered for the luddites, it still requires some form of gadget geekery in order to get it working for you.

Because her contract still gave her a little bit of time to return the device and cancel the 24 months of servitude, I encouraged her to return it if she wasn’t getting any value from the product. Much like any other item you purchase, if you find that you’re not using it to its full extent, you either return it or sell it to someone who would.

“No, I’ll keep trying” she said, “Everyone else seems to love these phones”

My heart immediately sank. The Apple Effect had taken another scalp.

Why should a device that you purchased with your money require perseverance? You paid for it. You should be able to use it. Perseverance should only be for those people who are issued phones for their work, which is usually a phone that the company has deemed the most secure, or the most functional, whether it’s an iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile or a blanket with some flint and a bundle of sticks.

You shouldn’t have to persevere to the point of absurdity just to get something to work properly. If you could use a Nokia perfectly fine, and you struggle excessively with the touchscreen keyboard on the iPhone, then the Nokia is the better phone for you. Just because everyone else loves the iPhone, it doesn’t mean you have to as well. There is nothing wrong with you because you struggle with the iPhone… it’s just not the phone for you.

We’re in a subjective society, and we can often have opinions that conflict with others’. We don’t immediately change our vote, for example, because everyone else thinks a certain way. We don’t buy pink clothes because everyone else is doing it.

I am still reminded of this quote.

Men…think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one

Charles Mackay

It just doesn’t seem to be stopping. There are more left to join the herd, it appears.


One month in

August 20, 2010

With the new laptop.

With all the scorn I heap on my old Macbook, and highlight the various quirks that I had to deal with, I think it’s only fair that I do a fair assessment of my new laptop after a month’s worth of use.

To recap, it’s a refurbished Dell XPS M1730 with the two 8800m GTXes in SLI, 4GB of RAM and 250GB 7,200 rpm hard drive.

It’s certainly powerful. As the thing doesn’t need to worry about looking elegant, there are vents all over the place to help airflow. While resting it on my lap isn’t exactly comfortable due to it size, at least it doesn’t get the to temperature that could easily fry an egg.

The Windows 7 gadget I have installed which monitors the temperature of the video card doesn’t seem to go over 60 degrees much.

The trackpad is far too small, when I’ve been used to the nicely sized on the Macbook. I plug in a USB mouse most of the time, but I think the track pad is only there for the sake of having it. It’s tiny.

The screen is the special kind of awesome that you wish you could hug, but you’d know that’d be wrong. It’s a love that dare not speak its name. 1920 x 1200 resolution means that I can fit multiple things on screen, and the size of the thing means I don’t need to squint to read the text. It’s perfect.

Of course, the high resolution means that gaming at native requires huge power, and thankfully the graphics cards are up to the task.

The flashing lights and gaudy colours are incredibly wanky.

But I would argue that they’re no less wanky than a single Apple logo.

Portability has been an issue, so I will need a new laptop bag to accommodate the behemoth. My current bag is doing the task, but with the size of the laptop and the gargantuan power supply, it means that the laptop itself currently fits in a compartment that isn’t designed for it, and the other accessories are slotted into the spot usually reserved for the computer.

I also wonder whether the straps are up to the task of carrying a weighty device. The last thing I need is breakage when I’m carrying around.

Speaking of carrying, I wouldn’t want to lug it around for an extended period of time. Unless I was trying to lose weight. But even then, I’d just find something better and less expensive to carry around. Like weights.

Aesthetically, it’s terrible. While the keyboard feels quality it lack the certain niceness of the Mac. However, I am becoming suspicious that Macs and Apple things are laced with a certain kind of opiate that is absorbed through the skin, which is what makes people swoon whenever they’re using them.

And that includes the boxes they come in.

But, when you’re not looking at it, and using it for its intended purpose (games), it is brilliant. Performance is flawless. The screen is marvellous.

I like that, unlike my model of Mac, if I’m running short of space, I can add another hard drive.

Then there also seems to be a very keen community around these laptops, judging from the plethora of Youtube clips I’ve seen that show you how to change everything from the GPU, the CPU and the screen.

Customisation and flexibility… how I’ve missed you.

The best bit? Uniformity of the function of the Ctrl key.

With my Macbook, I was never sure whether using the Command key and a cursor would either be an “End” key, or just to skip a word. It would seem to change constantly, depending on which application I was using.

It’s nice to have the same thing happen with those key combinations, each time, no matter what I’m doing.

(I’m aware that current Macbooks let you change the hard drive… but we’re comparing it to my Macbook, which only let you change the RAM and battery)


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