Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Has apple nuked the fridge with their app store in particular and with the launch of the iPhone 2.0 in general?

Don't get angry at me, Apple fun boys. I am one of you. I own several Apple Inc. products and I am happy with the most of them. But there is a troubling tendency in how Apple handles many things of the late.

When I bought my original iPhone on the June 29 of 2007 I did not buy it for the superior technological advantage it supposedly had over the competitors. In fact it did not have any technological advantages. There were faster phones, with higher speed networks available, phones with longer spec and features lists. But none of that mattered. What mattered the most was the consumer friendliness, the ease of use and user satisfaction. In other words it simply worked.

So, when the new iPhone was announced, I was happy to learn that all of that user friendliness will now come in a more robust package with the faster network speeds and the GPS. Or so I thought.
Apple began destroying the experience by requiring the in-store activation. My decision to own an iPhone in the first place was partially based on the fact that I would not need to deal with the mindless drones behind the desks of the regular phone company store. You will say that Apple Store employees are much better, and I will agree with that. But I must point out that, even with the friendliness of the Apple retail staff, the wait in line for a few hours was pretty much unbearable.

Then, of course, the app store on the iTunes.
The application updates process is still broken as of August 30th. Application versions are all mixed up. Wrong versions are being downloaded, and there is a difference between what the iPhone thinks has an upgrade available versus what the desktop version of the iTunes thinks. This is anything but "It Just Works" philosophy of the Apple we have grown to love.
Has apple nuked the fridge? Is it becoming a new Microsoft?

P.S. Don't even get me started on how long did it take me to configure a network with an Airport Extreme and an Airport Express on it, after the automatic configuration utility has failed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A definite proof that is full of it.

People from claim that they have more pages indexed than Google. In order to compare the obvious supremacy of to the shameful inadequacy of Google I did a simple query to both.
I searched for the name Obama, you know, the guy who might be our next president. However, I did not search in English - I used Russian.

The result might surprise you. - 0 results. - 663.000 results.

How did they manage to index almost 3 times the size of the google's index and, yet, return 0 results is beyond me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

If your iPhone doesn't sync with your PowerBook G4.

So, you plugged your iPhone (or an iPod, for that matter) into your Mac. Your Mac doesn't see it. What to do? It might sound stupid, but I found that simply changing an USB port you plug a cable into might alleviate the problem.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Apple's Remote App Doesn't Know It's an iPhone Application.

Apple has a truly great iPhone and iPod Touch application called Remote. This application is a definitive answer for my search of a good iTunes remote control.
Remote literally puts your entire iTunes library into the palm of your hand. You can browse your songs, shuffle, control the volume, see the artwork. Remote app works seemlesly.
It doesn't seem to be aware though of it being a primiraly an iPhone application.
Let me explain. You know how in the Apple iPhone TV commercials there is a hand that browses for the seafood restaraunt, or a hand that discovers that the new sales contact info was freshly pushed to the iPhones contact list, or the hand that is scrolling through the New York Times web page? Then a call comes through from the hand's only real friend - Johnny Appleseed. And the Pirates of the Carribian pauses, and the Fiest 1234 is on a pause as well. You remember those commercials.
Anyway, when you are using the Remote application on your iPhone and the phone rings the music plays on. It doesn't pause. It takes you a few seconds after you answer to slide to unlock, enter the passcode, relaunch the remote app and finally pause the playback so you are able to speak to and hear the other party. I see it as a minor usability issue, which, however, goes against the concept of the iPhone as an Apple device.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Your portable GPS can be used to create a historical traffic conditions database.

If you are not familiar with a Dash Express GPS, please read about it here. It is truly an innovative product. I am not going however to advertise this product, however awesome it might be, in my post but rather talk about something it made me think of.

Dash Express has an amazing capacity of using a real or near real time traffic data from each individual device which is being redistributed to all other dash devices using a wireless network. When there is no Wi-Fi or wireless network that the device can use it falls back to the preloaded historical traffic info (which, Dash Express People say, is in 15 minutes chunks). So, even the lack of the real time traffic data does not prevent this device from creating a somewhat useful route, better than your run of the mill GPS portable. In a sense, it is an indirect way of knowing "shortcuts", which streets and which roads are faster, which have fewer lights etc, etc.

As far as I know non of the big name players on the personal GPS market use the historical traffic info in their products. Yes, I am aware of the XM Nav Traffic on the Garmin and Pioneer units, as well as OTA traffic broadcast on Garmin, Sony, TomTom etc, etc. Which is nice, but it does not cover surface street, and only works in the major metro areas.
I am not sure that any of those companies use an extra info layer of the historical traffic data in their devices.

How would, let's say, a Garmin device acquire such a data? I guess they could license it from someone, but I am not aware of any companies that posses such a database. I am sure that the Dash Express people do, but I can bet that they are not interested in selling it any time soon.

It is simple, they should just use their own devices to collect such data. I know, I know, non of the Garmin units have a wireless modem built in yet. But, most of the GPS units log your track - a location you were in, the speed you were travelling with, the exact time and date and such. If this is not a historical data info, then I do not know what is. Furthermore, most of the portable GPS devices can be synced with a desktop or a laptop via USB. I connect my own GPS to my PC about once a week for a few different purposes. I will agree that a track log from any single device is worthless in this aspect to anyone than, maybe, your wife or yourself, but the data from many devices compiled over time will become statistically complete. It may be then used - it may be incorporated in the routing algorithms and become an extra data layer on the device maps.
I think it is a good concept. Guess I should patent it. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Colorimeter measurement supports a claim of the iPhone yellow screen fix with the 5A347 release.

There were reports regarding the iPhone 3G screen being too yellow.
It looked absolutely fine on the iPhone I got.

Later still many have claimed [AppleInsider] that the restore to the 5A347 release from 5A345 "fixes" the "problem".
So, I used my trusty Gretag Macbeth i1 spectrometer to see for myself.

First I would measure the white and gray fields on the iPhone with 5A345 set at the medium brightness with the auto brightness adjustment disabled, then I performed the restore to the 5A347, using the iTunes and repeated the measurements under the same conditions.

To begin with the original measurement showed the white point set to 5500K, which is awesome, and as many of you know is a standard for the many industries as far as the color management is concerned. CRI of 75 with white point brightness of 246 lux.

After the software restore the numbers were as such: 5755K, CRI = 74 and the brightness of the wight point at 241 lux.

For those of you unfamiliar with the color temperature concept, 5500K is yellower then 5755K.
The color curve showed no change in the blue part of the spectrum but some (very minimal) tweaking in the green and red, significantly more so in the green. This goes well with the whole change in the yellowishness theory.

So here you go, real, hardware measured data.

Subjectively though, I could not see any difference and I found the color rendition to be perfect on the original release anyway.

Measurement methodology was such: two measurements (averaged) for each brightness, 8 measurements total, with a calibration of the eye-one colorimeter after each sampling.

Questions? Comments?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A 45 minutes iPhone 3G activation wait three days after the launch

It has been three days since the launch of the iPhone 3G. 

As all of you know on Friday there were technical issues with the iTunes store which is used for the iPhone de-bricking and the activation.

Even though the issue with the iTunes seem to be resolves the activation still takes up to a 45 minutes per phone at the Walnut Creek, Ca Apple store. According to the store employees the issue is with the AT&T populating the activation info way too slowly. Interestingly enough, the number transfer procedure from a different carrier is faster then the upgrade for the existing AT&T customers.

From the words of the Apple store employees they are able to process 25-30 activations an hour in comparison with the up to 700 transactions last year, during the launch of the iPhone 2G.