Saturday, August 31, 2013

My rules, no matter what!

As it occurred to you that you may be asking too much? Sometimes I do, sometimes I feel like I deserve it. In our personal life, this issue may end up in conflicts and some situations that you need to re-evaluate your position. The damage is often insignificant and a simple apology will fix everything. On the other hand, on a professional level, it can be disastrous.

When you get hired for a job, we need to remember that this company has many employees to manage and that it cannot meet all personal requirements. It's a matter of simple logic...

Of course, any good company always have some internal policies to accommodate their staff on some issues or personal constraints. They do their best to make your job a dream come true. But there is simply no way that they can meet all your demands. The reason is easy: they have to plan ahead to stay competitive and productive.

If you feel that your employer is unfair, think about this: how can you make a hundred people happy and productive? If you have the answer, better start your own business!

For example, everybody has to comply by their schedule. Being late is more than missing just a few minutes. Some people may be waiting on your arrival, a meeting may rescheduled, a potential customer may be lost. If a hundred employees are late only 6 minutes, the same day, the whole company has been late for 600 minutes... That's 10 hours for a single day, lost in production time, paid in salary...

This is just for scheduled times. Now add personal preferences like a private office, a closer parking space, a bigger screen, a more flexible tasks management, a remote access... The list can go on and on... The only way for a company to be fair with everyone is to apply the same rules to everybody, even if, in some cases, the individual deserves a special treatment.

A staff is made of real people and that means all kinds of people. You may be dedicated, someone else will be lazy. You may be polite, someone else will be rude. You may be loyal and someone else will abuse the rules. There will always be some employees that are dishonest... And your company has to manage those that do not care.

Does it mean that you cannot ask for something? Go head, the worst that can happen is hearing no. Make sure to:

- Ask for something that will benefit all the staff AND the company
- Stay polite and open minded
- Evaluate the financial impact (cost over benefits)
- Are not threatening (someone else can do your job too)
- State that you understand their reasons

Keep in mind that proposing or suggesting is better than requiring. If your idea will benefit others and the company, you may end up as a manager after a while.

If your demands only benefit you, there is a good chance that the company will decline. Unless you can prove that you will double your production time over night...

Fairness is not about you, it's about everybody. As Mulder would say: You are not alone...

Patrick Balleux

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ubuntu Edge: The new "Year Of The Linux Desktop"?

A few months ago, Canonical launched a new idea: Ubuntu Edge.  A new smartphone built all around is famous operating system, Ubuntu.

Today, we've just learned the the project failed only achieving 13M$ on a 32M$ objective.  That is still an impressive performance to raise almost 13M$ in such a short time, but it was not enough.

I have been a long-term fan of Ubuntu, using it for my main OS for many years.  Since 2004, I've read and heard about Linux everywhere, hoping for a mass adoption that would give the users some alternative to Windows on the PC.  Many times, I thought that it was the "Year Of The Linux Desktop".  It never happened, even with the big push of Android.

It's not the "Linux Desktop", now it's the "Linux Smartphone".  I know, Android was build around Linux, but let's face it:  Android did not contributed to promote *Linux for the general population.  In the *NUX community, users have high hopes for mobile devices built around Ubuntu or any major Linux distribution.  I'm not sure we will ever see that happening, like we've been waiting for the "Year Of The Linux Desktop".  So what's wrong?

Apple was able to put on the market a new ecosystem in just a few years with mass adoption (iOS).  Google also did it with Android and now ChromeOS.  Why is Canonical not able to do it?

Of course, Canonical is much smaller than Apple or Google.  It does not have the same marketing budget of those two giants.  Nevertheless, it's not happening.  Ubuntu is a great OS, even with it's quirks and mishaps.  Everyone is crazy about online stores (AppStore, Google Play), but Ubuntu (and anything called Linux), did it many years ago with their repositories where apps and softwares had to be installed from their main servers instead of downloading from an unsecure website.

The repository concept (or Online Store) was way ahead of it's time.  Windows users could just not understand that it was better to have a single secured and managed source for apps.  Now, even Microsoft has it's own store...

So, again, what's wrong?  Is it because the regular user is afraid of a new ecosystem?  Probably not since iOS, Android and ChromeOS are winning the battle against Windows.  Is it because it's free?  Probably not as people will even download pirated copies.

Two things come to my mind:  Availability and Marketing.

The Ubuntu ecosystem is just not "available".  What I mean is that you cannot find in stores a PC running Ubuntu.  A few attempts have been made (Dell), but it never took off.  For the mobile division, there is simply nothing available on the market right now.   There is no Ubuntu Store near you, there is no Ubuntu devices explicitly advertising "Running Ubuntu".

That brings me to "Marketing".  Why would any user switch to Ubuntu?  The main reasons given are:

  • It's free
  • Viruses and infection threats is almost non-existent
  • It will run on almost anything
Those are good arguments, but we never hear about:
  • It's great for watching movies
  • You can manage your music with your mobile devices "out-of-the-box"
  • Here's a killer game that's only available on Ubuntu
  • Manage you business with ease using "Ubuntu Office"
  • Make your PC beautiful
  • Have Ubuntu Widgets to stay connected
The list could go on.  We all know, Ubuntu users, that it's been possible to do those things from a long time ago...  But it was never advertised on main streams.  The users were doing the marketing campaign, not Canonical (or Red Hat or Suse...).  That's what is wrong!

The only people talking about Ubuntu Edge are geeks and bloggers.  My dad, my family, my friends do not have a clue about Ubuntu beside what I've shown them.  They never saw an ad on the TV, heard it on the radio or seen a banner about it.  Even less about Ubuntu Edge...

Unless a real public marketing campaign is put in place, it will never happen...

Patrick Balleux

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Defining the iSheep

Everywhere in the blogosphere, you can read about reviews on iOS and Android.  Just Google for it, you won't be disappointed.  Often, flame wars will start in the comments for no reasons...  People a literally getting angry at each other over some glass, plastic and metal.

First: let's state that any smartphone is just an object. Like a block of wood, a rock or a diamond...  Are we in Minecraft here?  Nay!

Second: The goal for a company is to make profits.  Apple, Google, Yahoo, Ford, Microsoft, Facebook, Wal-Mart...  They all have one thing in common:  Business!  Companies don't have a soul so they cannot be evil or heavenly.  Technically, they sell products or services and hope to make some profits of it.  You didn't know?  Welcome to the real world, kids!

Of course, companies will ensure selling their products or services using marketing campaigns.  For everyone, they often are called ads!  Marketing campaigns have many goals like promoting the brand, informing the potential customers of the features, attracting new customers with "feel-good-catch-phrases".   Almost anything is possible in the world of marketing.  The ultimate goal is to convince you to buy their product.

Let's assume that the ad on the TV got on to you...  You buy the product, get home and enjoy your purchase.  Technically, the jobs is done.  The product has been paid for, the profit is now in the company's pocket.  That's it, that's all!

What happens next?  If the product is of bad quality, does not work as expected or does not really last long enough to justify the price you paid, you'll be disappointed.  You'll eventually call it crap, cheap and a waste of money...  This is where it gets interesting:  You will tell all your friends that this product is not worth it.  To some extend, you'll ensure that no one you know, will buy this product.  That's marketing also... A bad one.

We do that all the time.  If something has disappointed us, even for no good reasons, we'll tell everyone.  Is it the Superman complex?  I don't know...  For some people, it's a mission, a calling, a Truth...

This is what we are used to experience with any purchase.  If all goes well, then we're happy and we don't usually brag about it.  Have you ever wrote a full post about the last toaster you bought?  Me neither...  But we've all purchased something that does the job, nothing more...

What would happen if the product you bought is way more than you expected.  I mean that it provides you with new possibilities that you did not expected.  The new car never needs oil changing, the dishwasher will empty itself, you TV will cut ads.  You know, the extra mile that the company has done to ensure that you would be so happy that you will eventually talk about it.

And you will!  Some people will even talk about it to a point of getting on the nerves of the others...  We all know someone like that.

What was the product that you bought that over-delivered?  Seriously, think about it for a minute.  Your car, your last vacation hotel, your smartphone?  That's it, we're getting there...

Go back in 2009, when the iPhone 3GS was released.  All you had on the market was flip phones, Blackberries and Palm devices.  Being connected to the internet was costing an arm and a leg.  Screen resolution was badly pixelated and webpages were never rendering as they should.

I got the iPhone 3GS two weeks after it's launch.  The device was purchased to provide me with a mobile internet access, managing my calendars and emails without having to sync, to ensure that my laptop could connect to the internet while traveling on a business trip.  Those were my expectations, nothing more.  In my mind, I was buying a BlackBerry that would not require BIS, any special software or some black magic voodoo trick to "unfreeze" the device.

I got what I was expecting... and more!  Games were amazing!  I could listen to my music, battery life was good, the display did look great (at that time).  I could easily use my iPhone 3GS for any tasks.  It was way more that I had anticipated.  Above that, it was working flawlessly, anytime, anywhere, everywhere.  This was heaven.

A few months later came the first update.  Again, I was completely amazed to find out new features, new possibilities, new stuff.  Over time, my iPhone 3GS was updated from iOS 3 to iOS 6 and I never had any issues in the process.  It was working and providing more and more accessibility over time.  It was like getting a new device each time, for free.

Then came the time to upgrade.  I could make the choice between the new iPhone 4S or an Android smartphone (Samsung comes to mind...).  I knew that keeping up with Apple would ensure keeping a great usage experience with my device.  Going to another manufacturer could have provided me with new cool features, a new way of doing my daily tasks and maybe new apps to discover.  But let's face it:  It's a risk!

So as any informed geek, I read a lot about the other devices.  All I read about was about speed, memory, customization, connectors,  space... Mostly hardware stuff.  I wanted to know what it could do better than Apple's flagship.  I've seen a lot of goodies, a few minor things that were not found on iOS.  Nothing in all I've read convinced me that changing the ecosystem I was used to, would benefit me.

I'm not saying that other products were inferior.  I'm saying that the others products did provide me with something that I really needed.  Widgets?  Nah...  Free file system? I could manage easily with some apps (AirDisk Pro)...  What else, mini SD Card?  Maybe...

Overall, the benefits did not outweighed some major issues:  Upgrade coming really late (or never in some cases), branded systems, missing some favorite apps...  It was just not simply worth it...  I was happy with my iPhone 3GS, I should be equally happy with an iPhone 4S.

I bought the iPhone 4S because I knew what I was getting into:  a reliable device, great apps, updates as soon as they are released, better features than the 3GS.

I stayed with Apple simply because the delivered way more than expected over time.  My next smartphone will surely be another iPhone.  It works, it's reliable, I enjoy using it, I can trust the brand and I know that my money will be well spent.

Whatever the company, whatever the product, this is the definition of a satisfied customer!
An Apple's satisfied customer is labeled as an iSheep...  Strangely, fanboys do not understand why iPhone users will stick with Apple.  "They are blinded iSheeps", I often read.

When spending money, will you spend it on a product that has disappointed you? Not me...  But if I find one that does more than the job, I'll stick with it as long as I can.

Be it a smartphone, a car or a sandwich...

Patrick Balleux

Share this story, it's so sad... Yeah, right!

We've all received a sad story shared by one of our friends in Facebook or in our inbox.  You know, the kind of story that says a product is dangerous,  a poor family needs your help or a kid is really sick.

For some reasons, people will share the story to all their friends without hesitation, not realizing that they are in fact putting their name (account, email, ...) in a virtual list available to the world.  The whole world of spammers!

Before sharing a "sad" story, think first::  If it was true, it would all over the news (TV, newspaper, radio...) not just on Facebook.  It's easy to check if a story has some truth in it: Google it!

Some sites are dedicated at debunking those stories.  Have a look, you may be surprized to find out that the story itself is really old or has many variants.  Here's some good websites that you can use to validate your story:

It will take some just a few seconds to check it out.  In the end, you'll avoid propagating lies, annoying your friends and keeping your name off the spammer list...

Do you know other websites that could check a hoax?  Share them in the comments!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Vlogging with your iPad: TouchCast

You may have guessed it:  I'm quite into anything related to vlogging.  As the creator of WebcamStudio, I still look around for what others will create to help vloggers produce their show on the web.

Exclusively available on the iPad for now, TouchCast is a new concept where videos and interactive contents can be merged to create some amazing show.  It's not a video editor at all.  Think of it as a live recording studio where you can embed images, links, webpages and many other goodies.

A channel was created at to experiment the app and discover how sweet vlogging can be.

All recordings can be easily exported to Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube

TouchCast is free so go get it!

Have a look at their presentation:

Patrick Balleux

Friday, August 16, 2013

Stop wasting your time tweaking, just use it!

Our daily lives are filled with gadgets these days.  Smartphones, computers, tablets, TV devices...  We have more toys than we can handle.

Devices can be customized to our liking.  In fact, the more it can be customized, the better.  Changing the look, changing the behavior, changing the usability.  We've been doing this with anything and everything thus completely forgetting to use the device for what it does and wasting vast amount of time just to realized that we need to go back to the stock version.

Android system has pushed the limit of customization.  Understand that I find some tweaks amazingly beautiful and some extended features are just blow my mind.  I still have some geek living inside me.  I'm talking about Android, but it could be Ubuntu, iOS, Windows...  It's just that Android system is revealing a strange behavior from it's users.  They want it to be their own, at the cost of stability and losing some features.

Tweaking is not new.  Some people are just really skilled at it and can provide some new trends on the market.  Features that were found in Cydia for iOS made it the the stock iOS version.  It's a big laboratory for skilled users to experiment.  It's a good thing, we all need those people.

But for the regular user, the one just following blindly instructions on a random forum, avoid tweaking your devices.  Loading a custom ROM, applying some extended features over the stock version may end up in a nightmare if you don't fully understand what you are doing.  If you want to learn, go ahead!  If you want to make a statement, stop wasting your time!

Often, "regular" users will try to impress others with the latest ROM or tweaks:

  • You haven't created it so don't brag!
  • Give credits to the developers, not to your purchase
  • Your smartphone can be used as a web server? So what!  You'll use it a few times before removing it.
  • You've spend 60 hours rooting your device?  Maybe you should review your priorities.
  • You bricked your iPhone by trying to jailbreak it?  Stop whining!  Read, read, read and pray that you can salvage it.
  • You don't like the stock version?  Maybe you bought the wrong device first...

I could go on and on, but the fact remains that many users just used their ability to follow instructions as a statement of their personal status.  It's fun to learn new things when you're trying to achieve a goal.  A real goal!
  • Improving your skills and knowledge for your career
  • Investigating some new ideas and concepts
  • Solving a real life issue
  • Saving time in your daily routine...  I mean really saving time which include the time to get to the result.

There is a term in the business industry called ROI (Return On Investment).  The same should be apply to what we do late at night on our devices.  Does it really worth it?  Spending 60 hours tweaking to save 30 secs each day will payoff after 7200 days...  More than 19 years...  

Patrick Balleux

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: Minecraft PE 0.7.3

Minecraft PE was updated today in the AppStore.  See a review on my YouTube channel:

While at it, check out my other videos:


Monday, August 12, 2013

Laughing at Mac Users!

Remember the time when PC users were laughing at Mac users because they had a single button mouse?  Okay, maybe not if you're not older than 25 years old...

Nevertheless, PCs and Macs always had a fierce competition between them more than a decade ago.  One of the major point what that the Mac's mouse had only one button.  How the hell can you work with only one button?  That's what PC users were struggling with as the right button (as in left and right) was needed for a lot of task, most often to open up the contextual menu.

We are now in 2013, and guess what?  The "right button" is slowly disappearing...  Not for PC nor the Mac but from our daily use.  With touch screen devices like smartphones and tablets, the function of having an extra optional access button is slowing fading out.

The "right button" function has been replaced by a "touch-and-hold" gesture, making the process for accessing advanced functions easier and more intuitive.  Not always, but most of the time...

PC users could not imagine a world without a "right-button"...

And we now live in it! Almost...

Being social, alone...

Before Facebook, Twitter and G+,
Before Emails, SMS and Messaging,
Before Telephones,
There was communications between people...

"What is he talking about?" you might think.  We've been more connected in the last 10 years than ever before.  That's not quite true, we have more means to be connected but more and more people are socializing alone, at home.

Just a few years ago, you were wondering about what was going on with our friends.  You would pick-up the phone and have a chit-chat for a few minutes, a few hours.  You would pass in front of your best friend's house, stop for a cup of coffee and plan something for the week-end.  Now, lots of people are simply having a look in Facebook and send some not too involving statuses to each other about something that could be done eventually.

Let's face it: It's far more easier to invite a bunch of people over Facebook for a BBQ than call each and everyone of them.  It's far more easier to refuse to go to the BBQ or simply ignore the invitation.  Gathering has been relayed to a simple text without more meaning and those famous spams about "Enlarging your p***s!".

There was a time when people were thrilled to plan a party or a birthday.  In those days, you had to be careful about the number of people you were inviting to the event to avoid overcrowding your backyard.  Simply because having a party was the best way to keep in touch, have a laugh and remember good old memories.

Today, everything is on Facebook/Twitter/G+.  Current status, latest picture of the kids, your vacation videos.  No need to ask for them, it's just there, waiting for you to click.  What's left to talk about?

A "Like" or "+1" will never have the same meaning as seeing the smile of your audience while you talk about your latest adventures.  A smiley will never have the same effect as the hug given to a friend.

Maybe if we stopped posting and start visiting each others, there would be less crap on our wall.  I bet there would be more happiness between your walls...

Patrick Balleux

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Recycling your old PC into a killer machine!

You have an old PC collecting dust in the basement?  It came with the old Windows XP but after all the upgrades and updates it has become slower than a snail?  You can recycle that machine into a killer machine using something else...  Ubuntu!

Some of you may think that you need to be a geek to play with an OS build by geeks.  You're wrong!  Ubuntu and it's derivative are way easier to install and to update than Windows or OSX.  It's just a matter of knowing how to click on a button.

But let's go back to your old PC.  The first thing to do is to ensure that nothing was left on that machine like photos, videos or documents.  Make sure that everything was saved somewhere else like Dropbox, a USB key or a CD.  This way, you'll be sure that nothing will be lost what ever mistake you may do.

If your PC was build with standard components (network card, video card, etc...), you have a good chance that everything will work out-of-the-box.  The good news is that you can try out Ubuntu by simply booting from the CD or a USB key (if your PC can boot from external USB disk).  Ensure that your CD/DVD drive is working as this is the easiest way to discover Ubuntu before erasing your hard disk.

  1. Download a copy of Ubuntu in any computer having a disk burner (
  2. If you're unsure that your PC supports 64 bits, grab the 32bits image, it will work anyway.
  3. Once the file is downloaded, you'll need to burn the image onto a CD.  Remember that you need to burn the image, not the file onto the CD.  The file is often an ISO image.  It's like an uncompressed ZIP file that will put all it's content on your CD.
  4. Grab your newly burned CD of Ubuntu and insert it into your CD/DVD player of your old PC.
  5. Reboot your computer and be prepared to press F12 or DEL (Depending on your PC brand) to invoke the menu to boot from something else than the hard disk.
    1. Sometimes, the PC will boot directly from the CD without asking if the BIOS settings are set for that.  Other time, you may have to enter your BIOS configuration to specify that you can boot from a CD.  Each brand is quite different so you'll have to explore a bit.
  6. You should now be booting from the CD at this stage. Just follow the instructions and simply select the default settings when asked.  
  7. At some point, you will have to choose between installing or exploring from the CD.  Try it out before installing to make sure that your video card will be detected and that your network card is working also.
  8. It will take some time to boot the desktop from the CD as it's way slower than booting from a hard disk.  Be patient, it's just a few minutes longer than usual.
  9. If you see the desktop, that your mouse pointer is working, that you heard sounds and you can see your WIFI network, you're in luck.  Everything should work out-of-the-box.
  10. Play around with it, but don't think about installing apps in this mode.  Everything was loaded into memory so there is not enough space left.
  11. If you like it, the proceed with the installation.  The icon should be on the desktop already to start the process.
  12. When installing, just select default settings.  You'll be able to change everything later.
  13. Just erase the entire disk, forget about keeping your old Windows XP.  You'll start fresh and won't have to struggle with disk space.
  14. After the installation is completed, the PC will reboot and you'll have a brand new PC with new features that you may never have seen before.

If something goes wrong, don't struggle.  There are many ways to fix bad drivers in Linux, but you'll have to read a bit to be able to do it.  Most of the time, everything will work out-of-the-box.  Just make sure that you're connected to your network for updates and occasionally having to install a driver from the repository (Think about AppStore, but for Ubuntu).

Remember that this is not Windows.  Some softwares are not available for it, but it has great alternatives, sometimes better.  Some hardware may not have the drivers to support them (like PVR cards for examples).  Google around for hardware compatibility if you're unsure.

Ubuntu is great to recycle an old PC for the kids or as your primary computer.  It's up to you to decide if you like it.

And yes, it's completely free!

Hot Coding! News Playlist

Wanna keep up with Hot Coding! News?  Here's the link to the Youtube playlist I created on my channel just for you:

And here's the latest of the series:

Remember to subscribe to my channel:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Learning to code? How to start

You're thinking of becoming a developer and you're thing of creating the next smash hit game?  Maybe it's better to start small...

Here's a few steps to get you started, whatever languages you'll be selecting:

  1. Learn about variables, functions, classes and functions.  You don't have to become an expert but read a bit first to know about those concepts.  Wikipedia is a good source for that.
  2. Find a language and an IDE (Integrated Development Editor) to install on your computer.  Start with an easy one having lots of tools and wizard.  Netbeans for Java is a good start.  You'll switch later when you will get more comfortable with the concept of coding. 
  3. "Hello, World!" is the first program that you need to be able to create before anything else.  It will help you understand how to create a simple code and how to compile into a running software.
  4. Once you've figured out the basics, create another app that will require some user inputs.  An easy one is "Guess the number!".  Make the software select a random number between 1 and 100, read the users answer and reply with "Higher", "Lower", "You've found it".  You will practice loops, conditions and user inputs.
  5. The "Alert" button is another easy software to create.  Discover how to create a simple dialog box with a single button.  When you click the button, display a short message.
  6. Explore controls like text box, label, combo box, buttons.  Play around with them and make them interact together.
  7. Create a basic text file editor.  You'll need a text area to input some text, a button to save the content into a basic text file.  Once that is done, add a menu to load the content of a text file into your text area.
  8. You should now that basics to create a more complex software.  It's time to handle some image files and try to display them into a dialog box.  Often a canvas is the control to use.

That's what you need to learn first before anything else.  It will help you understand how to create a simple software and figure out how to use the tools and language you have selected.

Now that you're officially a developer, explore and learn about:
  • Network communication:  Transfer a file from one app to the other using TCP/IP connections
  • Graphics and animations: Try to draw a rectangle, a shape, scroll a text line on the screen
  • Data handling: Read about XML, databases, SQL.  That's how you will keep the high scores
  • Threading is an advanced subject but you'll eventually need it.
  • Learn on how to distribute your project.  You'll often need to learn about Installers to deploy your creations on other computers.
  • Double-check everything to ensure that there is no bugs and that you won't delete the whole content of the hard disk.  
  • Explore debug mode.  All IDEs have this option.  As your project will grow, it will become harder and harder to find the bug's source.

Be creative!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hot Coding News #6 Play Store, MS cuts prices, Sun will flip, Baby for sale

Goggle's Play Store shows recently updated apps (
Microsoft cuts prices on Surface Pro (
Sun's magnetic field will flip in 3-4 months (
Selling a baby is a bad idea (

Battle of the lens

Who ever imagined that one of the main features of a cell phone would be taking amazing pictures?

Over the last few years, snapping a pic with a smartphone has become so common that we take it for granted. Remember the old flip phones that could take some blurry images and we were so thrilled about it?

Nokia has just announced that his latest smartphone, the Lumia 925, is one of the best for this job (See article....

I own an iPhone 4S and I must say that it grabs great pictures as probably many other handset on the market. The thing is, I can't make the difference between manufacturers when viewing some pics on Facebook or Twitter...

For the general population, make sure that the image captured has a good resolution and great colors. That's probably all we need. If you're a professional, Canon, Nikon or Kodak must have the device you need.

With a smartphone, we basically snap a picture and upload it to the web, one way or another. These photos are actually processed, cropped and scaled down to fit the social network requirements so it will display perfectly in their feeds. Whatever the quality of the image taken, it will be lowered anyway.

You're 36MP pictures will not survive past your own wifi network. Does it really matter to have a smartphone handling such HD photos?

All I want is great resolution and accurate colors. A good enough lens that will let me share some moments with my friends. More than that, I feel like I'm paying for a feature that I do not need, unless I go professional.

A smartphone is a communication device, not a camera...

And you, what would you consider a perfect fit for your smartphone?

Patrick Balleux

Monday, August 5, 2013

iOS without iTunes, it's easy!

The major issue with iOS devices is the limitation to import media files. Users have to rely on iTunes meaning having to deal with a computer.

With Android, this limitation does not exists making Google's devices a winner at that level. Did you know that you can manage media files without iTunes? The trick is simply not to rely on the stock apps to do it.

If you do a search in the AppStore, you will find a plethora of apps that can deal with all kinds of media files. Some are free, some will cost just a few bucks. Simply forget about the stock apps and manage your favorite files with something else... As you would do on an Android device!


The magic of VLC is back for iOS devices. It can play many formats (if not all) and with the latest version, you can import movies over wifi or Dropbox.


Sharing files between devices and computers has never been easier using Dropbox. Any kind of files can be accessed and used. It's a universal iCloud! Many apps can access your Dropbox account making it even easier to import documents into other apps.


This is the Swiss Army knife for iOS devices. You can connect to all kinds of servers, download any files, use it as a media player or edit text files. It's the ultimate file manager for a mobile device.

AirDisk Pro

Another great file manager is AirDisk Pro. You can easily import and export files over WIFI making it the perfect tools to share documents with friends.

In the end...
There are many apps having the same features, it's up to you to choose what works for you.

Patrick Balleux

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Are we relying too much on Google?

A lot of people have a Google account, a Facebook account or a Twitter account.  Often they'll have all of them, just in case...

For several years, I've been managing my contacts, emails and calendar with Google.  It's easy, well integrated into many devices and free.  But lately I've been wondering what would happen if Google blocked my account for any reason.  You know, the kind of glitch that could make you cry until everything settles.

This kind of scenario has already happened with Google or any other providers like Yahoo or Microsoft.  You put everything into your favorite service provider and suddenly, your account is blocked.  No more contacts, no more calendar, no more documents...  A nightmare!

The benefits with cloud services is that you have a better chance of not loosing your data because of a disk failure.  We all created backups of our disk drive only to find out that the backup was physically corrupted when we needed it.  Remember that they told us that CD's were indestructible?

For the last few years, we've been pushed to rely on online services for everything.  For sure, Google's servers are much more reliable than my USB drive.  The main issue is that it is possible to lose the access to your account for any reasons.  A glitch, a suspicious document, a term that you didn't know in their policies.  Anything is possible.

We all said one day that we should backup everything locally, just in case but we never do it.  Everything is working fine so why bother.  That's the problem!  It's a bit like seat-belts in your car, you don't need them until you have an accident...

Just to be safe, I'll backup everything after finishing this post.  Better lose a few minutes of my day than lose years of data on a glitch.

And you?

Patrick Balleux