Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bendgate: Have we lost simple notions of physics?

In our virtual online daily lives, we have lost something very important: Common sense.

Since the launch of the iPhone 6/6+, everybody is talking about the Bengate.  If you haven't heard about it, it's time to crawl out from under your rock...  Or maybe you have a real life... Who knows?

Anyway,  someone, somewhere figured out that the iPhone should have been indestructible.  You can sit on it, you can burn it, you can bend it as much as you want.  The device has to be indestructible no matter what.

I've seen a few videos putting the device and also other brands of smartphone to the test.  It's actually amazing to see that the hardware design can withstand such torture and still be functional.  The iPhone did bend as others cracked, made strange noises or the glass display popped out a bit.

Nevertheless, none of them broke.  I was shocked.

When I was young, a long time ago, I was careful with my stuff.  By pure instinct, I would never put my calculator in my back pocket for the simple fact that I knew that I could sit on it and break it.  It was just common sense then.  The same rule applied to my glasses, my pens, my Walkmen...

In school, we learned that to any action, there would be an equal opposite reaction.  This simply means that if you bend it, it may break.  This basic law of physics seems to have disappeared today.  

(Pun intended)

Throwing it on the table, dropping it in the toilet, sitting on it on the couch, falling to the ground while holding a coffee, scratching it in a purse with keys...  People are getting mad at their device for breaking after being uncareful with it.  Have we lost touch with reality?

I bet that these would bend also by applying the same amount of force on them:

- fork, knife and spoon
- mirrors
- toothbrush
- computer keyboard
- plasma TV
- microwave oven door
- TV remote control
- sunglasses
- guitar
- "add your own..."

For sure, I won't put them to the test because I know they will probably bend and probably break.  I am careful with my stuff as I am careful with my iPhone.  Amazingly, they last for many many years.

The Bengate illustrated a design flaw from "The Hulk" point of view.  Just use common sense folks...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Goodbye iPhone 4s, welcome iPhone 6

This week, it was time for me to upgrade my loyal iPhone 4s to something else.  I made my choice on the iPhone 6 with a few apprehensions as I wasn't sure that bigger was better. 

You have to know that I do not use my iPhone for gaming and watching movies.  I mostly use it for listening to my music, taking pictures and as a phone.  Having a bigger display was more of an annoyance than a feature as I wear my phone on my belt and not in my pocket.

After a few days of experimenting with my new device, I think that I like it.  The larger display is not that big.  In fact, I do enjoy the larger keyboard and everything is easier to see and read.  Beside that, new features, better photos, smoother experience, you know the drill.

What I like so far:
- TouchID, I just love it!  It works, it's fast, it's brilliant
- Photos and Videos, integrated filters, slow/fast movies, more options
- Battery life a better 
- Edge-to-edge display
- LTE, it's so fast compared to 3G.  Too bad it's not unlimited data plan
- With the larger display, it's easier to read and navigate

What I dislike so far
- Clicking sound of the buttons.  Even the home button makes more noise and my 4s
- It's so slim and light, it's easy to drop it if you're not careful
- Sound, when playing music, feels like plastic or having less bass
- Larger display, it's hard to reach the to of it with only one hand.  And I do have large hands...

Overall, I do enjoy it and I will get used to the little "annoyances" as they are caused by the fact that I was used to a smaller display.  Next step is playing around with the videos features, mostly with the slomo videos.

The novelty will wear of in a few days but I can say that upgrading was worth it. This device will follow me everyday for the next two years and it should be fun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

iOS 8 and Ubuntu

Last week, iOS 8 was released from Apple for my iPhone and iPad.  As I am also an Ubuntu user, it was time to test the compatibility with the new update.

Each time there is a major update on iOS, Ubuntu won't be able to connect to your iDevice.  The main reason is that the new iOS changes its encryption key and the library, libimobiledevice, needs to be updated with that new key.  This is not is not a big issue as it will eventually be updated in the weeks following the iOS release.

Nevertheless, it's annoying and there is nothing that we can do about it.  If only Apple would provide the key to the developers...

Anyway, tonight, without much hope, I did the test by connecting my iPad 4 on my Ubuntu computer.  Normally, you'll get two mount points: one for the photos and one for the shared documents.

It was not a complete success... Nor a complete failure.  The photos mount point did work and I was able to access my photos, music and other stuff.  The Documents mount point failed, sadly.

It's the first time I've seen a new iOS release work partially and to me, that's good news.  

Now we have to wait a few weeks until the developers of libimobiledevice can figure out the new key and we'll be in business in no time.

Until then, you can always exchange documents using a NAS or a file sharing-app-over-wifi on your device.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

200$/year for a smartphone?

Following my last post, one of my Twitter follower (@sinedioMD) replied back that spending "200$ a year for a smartphone is ridiculous anyway..."

He's got a point.  Assuming the cost of the device, whatever the brand, it can come around 200$ a year considering supported life time.  Adding the cell plan that goes along with the device, the real cost is (60$/month) 720$/year.  For a grand total of 920$/year.

We are spending almost a thousand bucks each year to be able to send a few messages, read some stuff on the web, call someone when needed and listen to some music.  Isn't it a bit much?

If we compare to a cheap cellphone (the flip one) with just a simple plan of 20$ a month, get a decent MP3/Media player and wait at home to browse the web, it would be cheaper.

A flip phone will cost around 75$ and a decent MP3/media player can cost 80$.  The first year would round up to 120$+75$+80$=275$

The next year, it would go down to 120$/year. 

That's insane when you think about it.  For sure, we don't get all the mobile internet access but if you get a cheap Android tablet at 75$ and use wifi when available, you will almost get the same functionalities.

Smartphones are making us dumb...

The iPhone's price is too much!

Over the war raging against Apple products, one of the most popular complaints is the price.  I was curious and started investigating the cost issue everyone is talking about.

If we consider the price of the iPhone 6 (16 gigs) to a Nexus 5, there is no doubt that it does cost more.  The iPhone 6 goes around 650$ compared to the Nexus 5 at 350$.  That's a 300$ difference in price.  Of course, you can always get into a 2 years contract with your cell phone provider for an easier way to acquire a smartphone.  But let's consider the raw cost, without any contracts...

There is more than the initial cost to consider.  How long will your device be supported with updates and upgrades?  In general, the iPhone does get support for 3 years.  My current iPhone 4S was acquired 3 years ago and received the latest iOS 8 this week.

With an Android smartphone, it all depends on the brand acquired.  The Nexus series is probably the most up to date regarding updates and new upgrades.  The Google policies for supporting older hardware  is around 18 months.  This means that devices older than 18 months may not receive the next Android L on release day.

iPhone 4s was released on October 2011 and was updated to iOS 8.  The Nexus 4, released on November 2012 may not get the next Android L.  People a speculating on this issue...  The Nexus 5 was released on November 2013 and should be supported for about another 12 months.

If we do the math:

- iPhone: 650$/3 years of supported life = 217$/year
- Nexus: 350$/1.5 years of supported life = 233$/year

Overall, assuming that Google keeps its current policy, the iPhone is cheaper in the long run.

That's something to consider...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

YouTube Analytics in realtime

As I was reviewing my YouTube channel, I saw that youtube has added a new feature to YouTube  Analytics: Real Time.

This could be interesting to see how viewers are visiting my YouTube channel.  The realtime feature was already available in Google Analytics and I always wonder why it was not available in YouTube.

You can access it right under the Analytics link in your channel account.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's lost with iOS 8

I was eager to update my iPhone and iPad tonight with the new iOS 8 from Apple.  A lot of new features but also a few disappointments...

Before upgrading, if it's not too late, you may want to know about these:

- iPhoto is not supported anymore.  Your pictures will be imported into the Photos app but nothing is replacing the brushes and effects you had in iPhoto.  That's a 5$ down the drain...
- iBook is now installed and cannot be removed
- Podcasts is also installed and cannot be removed
- Tips, a new app is also installed and cannot be removed
- Health...  You know the tune...

Not much can be done and it's not a matter of life and death.  Nevertheless, I will miss iPhoto and its brushes...