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...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A copyright claim is pissing me off! (SOLVED!)

UPDATE3:  Finally, the last claim was removed.

UPDATE2: As everything was settled, guess what?  Another claim on episode 8. Same music, same sample, same everything...

UPDATE:  After having a few tweets exchange over Twitter with +AdRev (@adrevnet), they released the claims after I sent them the link to the videos.  It took around 20 minutes from the 1st contact in Twitter till the final issue.  See comments below for more...

I have many Youtube videos that I've created and some of them (Kill a Sheep!) do have a sound track that I have created using GarageBand for iOS.  As I am not a professional musician, I used available loops to create a neat jingle to play as a sound track.  You can hear it in the next video:

Nothing fancy there I it is based on the sample loop "Front Porch Dobro 01" and "Front Porch Dobro 02" essentially that I play over and over with drums and a few other samples provided by GarageBand.

Those samples loops are provided for free and are royalty free as stated by Apple:

The GarageBand software license agreement says:

"GarageBand Software. You may use the Apple and third party audio loop content (Audio Content), contained in or otherwise included with the Apple Software, on a royalty-free basis, to create your own original music compositions or audio projects. You may broadcast and/or distribute your own music compositions or audio projects that were created using the Audio Content, however, individual audio loops may not be commercially or otherwise distributed on a standalone basis, nor may they be repackaged in whole or in part as audio samples, sound effects or music beds."

So don't worry, you can make commercial music with GarageBand, you just can't distribute the loops as loops.
Last Modified: Aug 27, 2008
The statement is quite clear.

Last week, I received 3 copyright claims against my "Kill a Sheep" videos  by AdRev for Rights Holder.

  • AdRev for Rights Holder
I've looked around what was this song as I had never heard from it and even less AdRev for Rights Holder

I finally found the ALIBI song here:!explorer?s=ALIBI%20wwwalibimusiclibrarycom-ALIBI-Barnyard%20Stomp%20Holiday%20Mix%20

On the first claim, I replied back that the music was in fact from Garageband, in the samples loops available for free..  They rejected my reply and re-instated the claim.  I replied back with more content, the direct link to Apple website and hope to put an end to this.

After a few searches on Google, it became clear that this company is making money by invoking false claims on Youtube users.

I do not care about that jingle.  It was for fun and as a sound track of my videos.  But I am really pissed off as I may loose this battle simply because I am only one guy against a company probably having all required resources.

Thinking about it,  Apple do provide GarageBand and those sample loops.  I wonder if I could ask for some help.  Basically, AdRev is hurting GarageBand users by false claims...  Apple should sue them for copyright infringement...

Yes, I am really pissed off!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ScreenStudio 1.3.0 is online

A new version of ScreenStudio has been uploaded to

The new version is now at 1.3.0 and contains small bug fixes and a new feature: Refresh Sources

From the "Options" menu, I added a new entry called "Refresh Sources" that will reload your audio and video devices to update the list of the available sources.  This should be handy when you connect a device while ScreenStudio is running.  Prior versions had to be stopped and re-launched for the sources list to be updated.


Vingle, very community

We all have many online accounts: Twitter, Facebook, G+, Instagram, etc...

As a blogger and Youtuber, I use those tools to promote my work over the web.  The main issue is that my posts get lost into thousands and thousands others and getting some exposure is really hard.

Last week, I was exploring the web to find some place where it was a bit less crowded and where the community would be friendly.  I've found one called (

There is an iOS app and also an Android app which makes it easy to share on the go.  The interface is nice and the basic idea is that you create cards having pictures and links to share with the others.  I'm slowly building my account with Vingle.  Of course, is also available in your favourite browser.

I like the card idea where you can join pictures with you link and some text.  It's then easy to share the card with others, Twitter and Facebook.

It's a perfect mix of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Come join us an don't forget to friend me!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I hate Apple!

With the event of Apple this week, the iPhone and the Apple Watch are the main subject on the web.  This will last for a few days before things return to normality.  Of course, as an Apple user at home, I was following closely what the big fruit had to say.

This post won't be about the new iPhone or the Apple Watch...  There is already enough of that everywhere.  I wanted to talk about people, mainly iOS users and Android users...

"Let's get ready to rumble!"

I know, I know, this is a subject that can easily fall into an epic flame war and that's my point:  Why?

In the last few days, I've hear all kind of things, all kind of comments.  Those who already own an iPhone wonder if the larger display can be a good thing or a bad thing.  They wonder if the Apple Watch is worth the 350$ price tag.  They wonder if they'll wait or move on with the latest and greatest.  Nothing fancy, just regular users looking at what they have and considering if upgrading is worth their money.

On the other hand, Android users are at war.  I mean that they are arguing about anything and everything against Apple, iOS and the iPhone.  What I've heard so far:

  • Lot of noise for nothing
  • It was about time Apple did that, Android had these features for years
  • Finally, Apple understood that bigger is better
  • Yeah, right, like I'm gonna pay that price for a smartphone.
  • Apple users are sheep!  They'll buy anything 
I'm intrigued and confused at the same time.  Why is it so critical that Android users put emphasis on how cheap Apple devices are?

What about the new features?  What about the implementation of the Apple Watch compared to Google Gear or Pebble or Metawatch?  What about the fact that this is not a religion!  Nobody's right, nobody's wrong...

I personally prefer iOS devices to Android devices.  The reason is quite simple:  Apple does deliver what they advertise.  Like they once said: It just works!  Remember that I am a software developer.  I am also an Ubuntu user and an open source advocate.  And yes, I am also an Android user...  But for my mobile devices, I do prefer Apple's product.

There is nothing to argue about that.

Here's a few example of Android users arguing back at my reasons for choosing Apple:
  • I like the simplicity:  You mean you're stuck and cannot change the look, icons, etc...
  • The integration between my iPhone, iPad and Apple TV is just great:  Android has that also, nothing new here, we can even access the AppleTV.
  • The quality of the Apple apps are amazing:  You're just a sheep and believe everything Apple says.
  • There is far more less crap in the Apple Store:  But the Google Store is more open to all kind of apps...
  • It's fast, smooth, fluid, stable:  Oh, you are comparing with cheap Android devices!
I could go on and on.  You get the picture.  Whatever is said, will be replied with sarcasms, negative comments or just plain insults.  Never I have heard an Android user asking about more details on iMovie or what's available in the Apple Store.  Never have I seen an Android user taking the time to compare, side by side, the devices, the apps...  They are just arguing about the price, the fact that music is stuck in iTunes or that there is not slot to add a SD card.

Android is great, but from my point of view, for my needs, iOS is better.  Not just iOS...  The devices available (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV...) are great.  The Apple ecosystem is great, the iTunes Store and the Apple Store are great.  The sum of all this makes Apple's solution a better choice for ME!

If you are an Apple user and get stuck in a flame war, just say:  I like to buy a device that will be supported for many years.  I like the fact that I can upgrade my device on the day Apple releases a new version of iOS.  I also like to access the Apple Store and not wonder if the app is crapware.  I like good quality apps, made specifically for my device.  If this is the price to pay to get quality on all levels, than my money well spent.

Don't get me wrong, I do like Android.  There are neat features I would like to see available on iOS.  But there are also some features that I am missing on Android.  For me, Apple's offer has more benefits than Google's offer.  That's it, that's all...

I've used Windows, Ubuntu, OS/2, Palm devices, Blackberry's, OSX, Android and iOS.  I know them all as I've used them for work and personal use. I can see the qualities for each and everyone of them. My current favourites: Ubuntu on a PC and iOS on mobile...  At the opposite side of the spectrum would you say.  There must be a reason.  It's my choice.

 And with this, let the war begin! :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Are you using an illegal copy of Windows?

Why do people will install an illegal copy of Windows on their computer?  I'm not talking about the legal aspect as it is wrong to use an unpaid version of any software but about the troubles they get into just to make it work.

As everyone is shouting about privacy issues with social networks, smartphones and the web in general, why would someone take the risk of introducing the biggest Trojan Horse ever known, an illegal copy of Windows.

A downloaded copy may contains more than expected like key loggers, viruses or spywares.  SerialKey generators are even worse and they too may get you more than a working copy of Windows.  Then you will have to do the "hunt-for-drivers" and hoping that your hardware will be supported as it was with the original copy that came with your PC.

The process of getting a fully functional version of Windows may end up in a privacy nightmare that you really do not want to experience.  Let's not forget that once Windows is installed, many users will repeat the process with MS Office, Photoshop and other great softwares that are the reference in their field.

A bit of story time...

At home, we have three laptops that came with Windows originally.  Mine is a Samsung RV515 and came pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Edition.  There is also an old MSI netbook, pre-installed with Windows XP and a more recent laptop, an Asus, that one of my step-daughter got from her dad.  It was pre-installed originally with Windows 7, "upgraded" to Windows 8.

The MSI netbook got into many troubles over the years and was on life support.  Actually, we were considering trashing the little devil as it became unstable and deadly slow.  We did not know how to reformat the machine as there is no CD/DVD on the device and we just dont remember if we had some way to re-install Windows XP on it.

The Asus laptop was used and originally came pre-installed with Windows 7.  My step-daughter's dad had installed Windows 8 on it and the laptop was not handling the latest version of Windows very well.  Eventually, she asked if she could have Windows 7 instead.  Technically, it was just putting back the original operating system which was already paid for this machine.  The issue was that we did not have the original installation disk nor the original serial number...  So a friend helped out by providing an OEM copy of Windows 7 but we were stuck on the activation process that would not work.  To make a long story short, my step-daughter (an 11 year-old) became tired of Windows constantly asking to activate it.

For the MSI and the Asus, we were stuck in a dead-end and I was not willing to use any software that would crack and activate (probably) Windows.  There are too many security risks involved and too many issues that could arise.

You guessed it, I proposed installing Ubuntu 14.04...

My girlfriend was a bit scared of moving into unknown territories with her MSI and my step-daughter did not want to lose her "Plants versus Zombies" game that she had bought for the Asus laptop.

The Samsung laptop

This is my personal laptop.  Windows 7 was well supported on it, but I wanted Ubuntu 14.04 for development purpose.  Nothing special, move along...

The MSI netbook

It was slow, unstable, freezing all the time.  Battery was dead as it could not hold a charge more than 5 minutes.  My girlfriend agreed that as a last and final step, I could format the hard disk and install Ubuntu 14.04 on it as "an experiment" before trashing the device.

After the installation process completed, 45 minutes later, the MSI booted up into Ubuntu...  It was running smoothly and very well.  Then we realized that Ubuntu was reporting that the battery charge was good for more than 1 hour...  Strange as we knew that it could not hold the charge for more than 5 minutes...

My girlfriend and I took a tour of Ubuntu where I was showing her how it was working, where Firefox was and so on...  She actually liked it as it was simple and easy.  She was impressed to discover that her netbook was running so smooth and was actually feeling like a brand new machine.

Surprise, surprise!  We also discovered that Ubuntu was not lying.  The battery was in fact able to hold the charge for more than an hour.

The Asus laptop

Yesterday, as of writing this post, my step-daughter agreed to try out Ubuntu 14.04 on her laptop.  Since Windows was so annoying, Avast wanted to update all the time and nothing was working smoothly, why not give it a try.  As I explained to her, she's 11, it's a bit like a Mac but not the same.

She is using her laptop to do her homework from school, playing "Plants versus Zombies" and browsing the web.  Nothing fancy, she just wanted her laptop to work.  The installation process took overall an hour, including making a small backup of her files on an external drive.  Everything was supported "out-of-the-box' including the webcam that never worked in Windows...

We spent the afternoon together discovering her "new' computer.  She was simply amazed to find out how easy it was to use.  She loved the Ubuntu Software Centre as it is like her iPod App Store.  Everything she needed was already installed and functional.  She was actually expecting that we had to hunt for hardware drivers, download a few softwares so she could do her homework and that we had to configure many things.  In her mind, the laptop should have been ready only on the next day, after many hours of downloading, installing, updating...  Nope!  It was ready, after only an hour.

As a bonus, we installed PlayOnLinux to try to run her game "Plants versus Zombies".  As I explained to her, there was a good chance that it would not work.  And... It worked perfectly!

Her comments:

  • Ubuntu is looks great
  • It's so fast and smooth
  • It's like a Mac, but free
  • The "AppStore" is great, there are a lot of free games 
  • Everything is updated, all apps, all games... Like her iPod
  • There is so much to discover... It's so cool!
In the end...

Everyone is happy!  I always liked Ubuntu so for me, it's not a surprise.  My girlfriend has a "brand new" netbook and she loves it.  My step-daughter now has a fully functional laptop as it should have been and she can finally do her stuff.

Struggling with your Windows?  Maybe it's time to try something else, maybe it's time for Ubuntu!

Go get it:
Wanna see Ubuntu in action? Check out my Youtube channel:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Get free money on Android: Google Opinion Rewards

If you have an Android device, there is an easy way to earn a bit of money to spend on the Google Play Store.  Google has released an app called "Google Opinion Rewards".

It's a small app that will send you small surveys to answer in exchange for some credits in the Google Play Store.  Surveys are small and the payout is quite interesting.  Since I have installed it on my Asus Memo FHD 10, a few months ago, I had to answer around 10 surveys and was able to get around 5$ to spend in the store.

It's not much, but the payout always depends on the survey and your answers.  Sometimes you'll get $0.16 and other time $0.75.  Overall, you can get almost a free app or game each month.

Here's the link: Google Opinion Rewards - Android Apps on Google Play

Since the app is provided by Google, it feels a bit safer.

Leave comments about your own experience with Google Opinion Rewards...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pictures are forgotten memories...

Many years ago, taking a picture meant more than catching a glimpse of your life to be shared with the world.  It was considered a privilege and almost an honour to be able to immortalize a sweet memory.

Having a collection of photos was the only way you could relive your vacations, the birthday party of your friend or the first time you bought a car.  They were stored securely under the bed, shielded from any scratches and were manipulated preciously...

Being able to keep a freezes view of what you witnessed was limited in many ways.  It was hard to take a good picture with the hardware available.  Nothing was automatic, no colour correction, no anti-red eyes, no cropping, no stabilization process.  Any picture could be easily too dark, over-exposed, blurred or out-of-frame.

The price you had to pay for a decent camera was added to the price paid for a good quality film.  And then, you had to pay for the development process, extras cod having doubles (copies), larger photos, and more, and more...  Taking pictures was pricey.

So whenever you wanted to take a picture, you were always considering a few facts before proceeding: 

  • does it really matter to have a picture of that event
  • will I ever look at that picture in the future
  • do I have enough film left in my camera
  • how much have I spent in picture in the last few weeks?  Can my budget handle it?
A picture was a whole process of investing your time and money, trying to make it worth for every penny... Remember that on a 12 shots/film, you were ending up with 6-7 goods ones?

When friends and family were home, there was always a time to get those photo albums from under the bed.  Everybody would round up in the living room and pass around the photo albums, everyone having a view of your past memories.  And do not forget about the stress felt when one would remove a photo from the album to have a better look at it...  Don't fold it, put it back at the same place, be careful...

Pictures were precious as diamonds and fragile as a flower.  We were happy sharing them, but not too much...

Those days a long gone now.  With the current technologies and devices, we have stored thousands and thousands of meaningless photos.  Nobody actually looks at them if they're not shared on Facebook or Twitter.    We have so many pictures of our lives that we don't even want to look at them any more, too busy looking at pictures of strangers over the web.

They cost nothing, they often mean nothing, they are forgotten as fast as the next one is taken.
Pictures worth nothing now.  

Stop, open your old albums and dig in.  Take the time to remember what was put aside and forgotten...