Category Archives: IT

IT: OS, Software and more.

Social network

Marco brought this to my attention.

Yes I am fed up with the social networks of our time. Facebook continues to experiment on us, while collecting our behavior data for its own benefit: to maximize the time we spend on their; to show us things that it thinks we want to see; to hide things that it thinks we don’t want to see. Their ultimate goal is to make money. And there is a conflict of interest there. We are Facebook and Google’s product: they sell us to the advertisers. They have no moral baseline. If they are not-for-profit, the current scheme of things may be different. But I am optimistic that new things will arise.  Tent.io is a good idea but I don’t think it is ready yet. I hope in the future this blog and things can be integrated with tent, or something like that. In fact we can each afford to host our own site, and these sites can be connected with each other. We don’t have to sell ourselves to a single or a couple of companies.

WordPress is indeed much better than I first started using it. But my posts have gradually decreased over time. I do post often on Facebook and sometimes Twitter as well. But I never felt that I own my content. Facebook don’t even allow me to search my old posts. This annoys me greatly. Maybe they will bring this feature, but still, they own me on Facebook. I am going to strive to reduce my dependence on Facebook. If I want to talk about something, post something for my friends to see, I will try to post them here, and link on Facebook, until there is a better way for us to ping each other.

This reminds me of talking about how Apple could have changed social network with their iMessage platform. We know each other already, we have each other’s phone number. We can be automatically connected. Things can be shared. There does NOT need to be ads. No one need to collect our behavior in order to show us promotional materials. I would love to have that social network.

用iCloud替代其他动态DNS服务,免费。

Mac开启了back to my mac的话,你的Mac已经获取了一个icloud网址。

查找方法:

在Terminal里面输入
dns-sd -E

会得到以下结果:
icloud.com
-> btmm
–> members
—> ##########

然后你所有这个iCloud帐号下的电脑的网址就是:

HostName.##########.members.btmm.icloud.com

这样你就可以轻松的ssh或者其他远程访问方式连回去了。

微软的伪创新

微软Office展示了这样一个“未来”视频
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6cNdhOKwi0

有评论称

这个video展示了微软的问题所在:他们最酷的产品是想象出来的未来“牛屎”。我们都已经看过了《少数派报告》(aaaty:avatar我们也看过了;我一直不懂为什么我们需要那样的透明屏幕)。如果微软能把做这种video的功夫花在制造用户真的能用能买的产品上……

我看了之后的感觉是,和当初的Courier,微软的未来研发变成了Adobe After Effect形式的ppt战场。难道是传说中的印度人当道的结果?从这个视频来看,可见微软根本不考虑“可用性”。比如把菜谱映射到厨房桌面上,真的是实用的吗?真的做饭做菜的都知道,厨房表面很容易就摆满了材料和厨具。而且视频里很多hologram都是啥啊?怎么实现,有意义吗?Courier的操作也极其复杂,learning curve可以想像,和iPad的两岁小孩也会用根本不可同日而语。

微软企业文化里,大概就根本没有可用性和intuitive可言。

HTC Android security issue

It is pretty bad. Especially the lack of software updates. Is Google going to close the OS? Obviously a lot of handset makers do not have enough expertise to maintain the modified OS and provide updates.

Here is the analysis, from Marco.org:

This is pretty bad.

One of Android’s biggest problems is the lack of OS updates after each device is sold, since both the manufacturer and the carrier need to approve each update, and neither of them care much about dumping money into enhancing “old” phones.

In addition to the long-term customer satisfaction issues this causes,1 it’s also a potentially huge security risk: if a serious vulnerability is discovered in a released version of Android and Google issues a patch, vast numbers of phones in the marketplace might stay unpatched for weeks, months, or the rest of their service lifetimes.2

In this case, the problem is in HTC’s code, not Google’s. That’s probably worse: HTC is a hardware company that barely makes software, so they’re unlikely to have any mature process in place to create and deploy security patches quickly, and they’re unlikely to care about it as much as Google would.

This must bother Google immensely, and it’s probably one more reason why they want to (and should) “close” Android, prevent manufacturers and carriers from mucking around with low-level services, and take control of updates and deployment.

For the remaining Android customers whose long-term satisfaction hasn’t already been burned by poor battery life. ↩

Google narrowly dodged this fate with a less-severe issue by issuing a server-side fix, but very few vulnerabilities can be fixed that way. ↩

关于微软的Metro UI

今天终于找到了能够总结我对Metro UI的观点的评论:

1. “regarding Windows Phone ’07, Apple offers “a better-designed UI that doesn’t continuously destroy users’ visual memory.”

2. The sameness made it impossible to find anything. Why anyone would revert to vague and homogeneous tiles from highly identifiable icons is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps someone thinks it’s more artsy.”

3. “People sense something is wrong. The miserable sales of the Phone 7 products reflect the user sensitivity,” Dvorak writes. “So what does Microsoft do? It pushes the same bad idea to the new OS. Win 8 will be a
huge disappointment if Microsoft insists that these metro tiles are a good idea.”

“When you look at your desktop screen, how do you find the program you are looking for? You look for distinctive icons using your human ability to recognize patterns. It’s what we do best,” Dvorak writes. “We are so good
at this that we can identify an upside down icon. Mac takes the icon approach to interesting and useful extremes. Even document icons are miniature and identifiable shrunken images of the title page. This is extremely useful.”

真的我之前就是这样想的。
信息overload,不仅overload时间长了之后用户会自动忽略tiles里的信息,而且也毁灭了用户视觉记忆。

使用安猪Atrix的第三天到第五天 Part1

Part 1主要谈备份和程序商店

因为没有sync备份的功能,所以不知道如何备份。发现安猪市场里面有一些备份软件,可以备份到SD卡。昨天我在iTunes里面建了一个播放列表,后来用doubletwist同步到了SD卡上。所以SD卡上没空间。也可以备份到Dropbox。不过这个Titanium Backup Pro才支持这些功能,软件也不便宜。算不算hidden cost?我感觉iPhone只要是和iTunes sync的话我就不用担心备份问题。以后有iCloud也应该会方便很多,还有wifi的备份功能了。后来在设置里面找到了有关备份到Google Server的问题,也许已经备份到云里去了?这一点不是很清楚。

除了备份软件,还发现安猪市场里有不少系统维护,优化,管理软件,有不少还是要钱的。

不防比较一下Android Market里面最热卖软件和App Store里的有什么区别。
安猪市场(网页上和手机上看到的排名不同)
骨骼网站:
1. Beautiful Widget: 可以在桌面上摆放很多不同的时钟,天气预报等信息。$2.83
2. ROM manager: “所有破解root安猪用户的必备”,做备份,刷ROM。$5.86
3. 水果忍者 $1.26
4. WeatherBug Elite $1.99
5. Robo Defense 塔防游戏 $2.99
6. Root Explorer 文件管理 $3.88
7. Titanium Backup Pro 备份软件 $5.94
8. PowerAMP 音乐播放器 $5.16
9. Better Keyboard and Unlock Key: 系统修改 $2.99
10. Documents To Go $14.99
11. Doodle Jump $0.99
12. SetCPU for root user: 破解用户用来超频等的工具 $1.99
13. Talking Tom Cat $0.99
14. ADWLauncher EX $3.28 彻底修改更换桌面
余下有一些游戏,系统修改,备份,键盘,无线同步,锁屏软件。

手机上看到的:(不知道为何和网页上看到价格不同,也许网页价格是中国价格)
1. PowerAMP音乐播放器 $4.99
2. Titanium Backup Pro $6.88
3. Root Explorer文件管理$3.99
4. ROM manager (Premium) $5.86破解用户的必备
5. PicSay Pro 照片编辑 $3.99
6 Beautiful Widgets $2.89
7. SwiftKey键盘 $1.99
8. XDA Premium $0.99 破解用户的良友
9. MyBackup Pro $4.99 备份软件
10. DocumentsToGo
11. SoundHound $4.99
12. Talking Tom Cat
13. Weather Bug
14. SetCPU 超频
15. Shazam Encore
余下有一些游戏,系统管理,任务管理,键盘,同步工具等。

那么AppStore呢

1-7, 9, 10, 12-18游戏,$0.99-$1.99
8 健身, 11, Camera+, 19, Whatsapp, 20. FatBooth, 21-25 游戏

我们可以看到Android上大部分受欢迎程序都是安猪用户在修改系统设置,自定义桌面,备份,同步,刷ROM,修改键盘,超频。iOS用户貌似大部分在玩游戏。而且安猪用户愿意付蛮多的钱(愿意付费的那些)。

Update:
我想我也应该看看免费软件

iOS先

1-5, 游戏
6. Facebook
7-8, 游戏
9. Talking Tom Cat 2
10-12, 游戏
13. Pandora
14-19, 21, 24, 25 游戏
20. Skype
22. Netflix

安猪市场
1. Kakao Talk 通讯工具
2. Google Maps
3. Flash Player 10.3
4. Facebook
5. YouTube
6. Pandora
7. 星座
8. Whatsapp
9. StreetView on Google Maps
10. GasBuddy 加油省钱秘诀
11. 藏照片的软件,比如有色照片
12. 高级杀任务工具
13. Shazam
14. Google语音搜索
15. 世界报纸
16. Google翻译
17. Google星空图
18. 文件管理
19. barcode扫描
20. Twitter
21. Dropbox
22. Tagged android app
23. TuneIn Radio
24. Music
25. Adobe Reader

余下还有天气预报,新闻,Gmail, Google Search, 文件管理器,圣经,Movies, Google Earth等。
网页上稍有不同,但是大多数还是Google的程序,外加电池管理,Yahoo Mail, 免费的手机安全软件,个别游戏。

一个果轮和安猪Atrix在一起的第二天

第二天,继续记录感觉好和感觉不好的地方。猪轮谷轮请轻拍。

感觉好的地方

1. 剪切板历史记录。很好。
2. 1GB的内存很大,818MB可用,内存里可以放很多程序。只要他们不怎么消耗电池,这个我是无所谓。程序切换比较快。相比之下,iOS设备的内存一直较少。虽然iOS程序和系统往往更流畅,但是物理限制决定驻留内存程序有限,程序切换的时候更多时候需要程序重启。

混合感觉,有好有坏的地方

1. 四个按钮。

安猪的四个按键,是和iPhone操作最不同的地方之一。home的作用和iOS基本一样。option键,隐藏了很多option,节约了界面空间,但是隐藏的话用户经常需要点击才能查看我到底能干什么,也不是非常好。Consistency上,options有时候藏在里面,有时候没有。确实不管是桌面还是移动操作系统,很少有做到人机交互高度consistent的,除了苹果。

返回键,很多人喜欢,很多人不喜欢。有人认为是设计上的亮点,有人认为不是。我认为有时候还不错,有时候也是缺乏consistency。用来在程序之间切换,比如从twitter打开一个链接,自动用opera打开,然后按一次返回,opera把tab关掉,再按一次,回到twitter,感觉并不是完全intuitive的操作,但是还算seamless,切换速度也比较快。没有切换动画反馈,有时候较confusing。很多时候取消也用这个按键,所以功能太多,缺乏consistency,但是喜欢功能的功能控,恐怕会很热爱它。

搜索键,我觉得并非必要。放到软件界面里也未尝不可。如果软件界面上没有提示可以搜索,难道我每次都要去试一下?学习curve和记忆要求太高。如果界面上有提示,那么应该按这个提示就可以搜索,也不需要搜索按钮了。骨骼作为搜索公司,所以刻意设计了这个按钮,让人时刻不忘“search”,个人觉得不是非常好的设计。

好像这些按钮大部分在Honeycomb里面也变成在界面上的了。

~~~~~

2. 音乐媒体播放

自带播放器不是很好。
amazon MP3可以播放云音乐,也可以播放本地文件,功能上还是不错的。可惜播放云音乐不够流畅,不时还有爆音,好似CD轨道划伤,让人不得不叹息amazon对细节一向的不注意不追求,用户体验之差。好在可以扫描本地文件,至少也是按照metadata给我Organize了,也算庆幸没有让我去找文件,找文件夹,略感欣慰。

总之,显然,这些都是iPod。界面,操作,各方面,都让我回想起以前的generic MP3 vs iPod的感受。

3. 音乐同步

几千首音乐,没有同步功能会死人。特别是如果电脑上的音乐更新了封面,歌词等,我希望每次sync就可以自动更新。摩托有Windows版的client貌似可以搞定这个事情,但是我不用Windows没法测试。有第三方软件支持同步是好。但是实际体验如何,请看下面。

更多比较差的地方

Motoblur界面不是很好。程序之间界面consistency很差。很多系统程序的黑底白字界面设计让人颇感可怕,为什么要这样设计?难道是学Zune?难道是为了OLED屏幕省电?反正既不美观也不实用。

自带的邮件软件比较差,虽然可以比较容易的添加各种电邮帐号,但是用起来比iOS差很多。更让人匪夷所思的是,gmail是单独的程序,不在universal inbox里面。这是神马设计?难道这不是真正的脑残?

最近一个老牌软件Miro更新了支持同步安猪手机。于是下载来看看。所以顺带review一下Miro。以前Miro是以可以下载BT,管理视频,看网络电视著称。跨平台,但是一直不是很流行。最近可以管理音乐了。它扫描你的iTunes library,导入音乐。但是浏览音乐的模式很脑残。貌似没有分栏查找的功能。全部列在一个窗口里。要么是文字列表,要么是莫名其妙的超长列表,每行一首歌,每行占据很大空间的显示方法。

那么怎么同步呢?很难像iTunes那样选择几张专辑来同步。 我可以文本搜索某艺人,专辑,然后选中拖到手机或手机上的SD卡上,然后它同步。可惜同步到SD卡速度较慢。然后一次同步操作完成之前,没有办法拖更多音乐过去。表明这个软件实在是原始。貌似也没有以后自动更新这些文件的能力。所以很失望。DoubleTwist不知道是否会好一些。决定这几天试一下。

有些程序都是自己放在后来定期链接服务器看有没有新消息。这个很不可靠,速度也很慢,比起iOS的Push notification实在是差了很多。比如我用TextPlus,对方回复之后我的iPad马上受到提示。但是Atrix至少延迟两三分钟。如果后台程序更频繁链接服务器查询新消息,那么估计电池也吃不消。所以再次感叹,Push notification好。据说骨骼很快也要支持类似服务。好吧,互相抄吧。

官方的gmail程序貌似也不是很好用。我感觉我更喜欢移动网页里的gmail的感觉。可惜我现在也不怎么用Gmail了。

最后,现在已经是晚上。在写完上文之后一段时间,又遇到如下问题,反映了系统的不稳定。

第一,蓝牙连接福特Sync系统成功。但是大约三四首歌之后,链接断开了,然后atrix开始用外放喇叭开始循环播放这张专辑每首歌的一两秒。车上台湾mm也无语了,我只好说没办法,安猪系统不好,她有ipad 2所以还能理解。用的是songbird程序,开车,只好快速杀掉两个进程也无用。让mm把手机静音也没用。到达目的地之后打开android assistant还是做了什么操作就突然好了。

之后又发现指纹识别完全没反应了。于是只能重启。android assistant说开机时间超过两分钟。开机加载项花了一分钟。还好没有给我算开机速度全国排名百分比。

大概就这样了。硬件配置比老的iphone好很多。直接从iphone3g,3gs换到最新安猪也应该就感觉真的升级换代了。

晚上朋友有iphone 4,我也会群体目测了一下屏幕。昨天我写的,今天更新的屏幕细节问题,得到验证。iphone4屏幕确实细腻很多。atrix屏幕的pattern太明显。

果轮用安猪第一天体验

果轮用惯了iPhone,从第一代iPhone开始用到iOS 4.3。现在突然决定用用股沟的安猪,到底会怎么样呢?

果轮选择了机身大小和iPhone差不多的4寸屏幕的Motorola Atrix 4G(简称Atrix),一个伪4G手机。果轮将把它和iPhone 3GS和iPhone 4,iPod touch,iPad做比较,并连续跟踪一段时间。

硬件和外观设计
硬件和外观评分3/5
iPhone 3GS 4/5
iPhone 4 4.5/5

Atrix的外观相当塑料。不算厚。比较轻。手感比较cheap。造型比较简约,较摩托罗拉的Verizon的Droid系列简洁一些。没有什么出格古怪设计。充电口在左侧稍显不方便,特别是考虑如果车驾使用的话,可能会比较别扭。做工很一般。屏幕玻璃可以看出来比iPhone的cheap。手感也不如iPhone,滑动起来更涩。缝隙很多,不过因为后盖可打开。塑料手感不如iPhone 3GS。机子不是很rigid,应该是可以开盖的塑料机的通病。有时候打字或操作的时候用点力,机器会发出受力形变的吱吱声或震动,光是这个,评分就可以扣0.5。

有趣的是,Atrix没有传说中常见的很多硬件按钮,比如,没有照相机键,没有静音键,没有锁屏键。相比iPhone居然没有任何优势,让人吃惊。

指纹识别功能是否算高端?苹果没有任何产品支持过指纹识别。我测试情况,识别率还可以。有时候会抱怨刷指纹太快。但是这个指纹识别兼电源/锁屏开关位置古怪,比较难用力,不是很好的设计。

LED指示功能还可以,好像不像有些黑莓或Nokia,会不停的闪。这个更加可以接受。外放喇叭声音不是很好。看网上评论,也有人有类似观点,放出来容易破声。

因为我经常位于ATT覆盖很差的地方,我没有发现Atrix的信号比3GS的好at all。

关于软件的一些评价

自带浏览器,基于WebKit,但是同是双核1Ghz,跑SunSpider的话,iPad 2的2000多ms,但是Android 2.2.x这个要4000多ms,连600Mhz单核iPhone 3GS都可以跑5000多ms。所以JavaScript速度方面,Android以前的优势没有了。

加载网页速度还不错。明显比iPhone 3GS快。没有和iPad 2比。

不过加载完网页之后,iPhone 3GS滚动流畅,iPhone 4就更没有问题。但是内存和CPU都强很多的Atrix,滚动网页明显不流畅。特别是如果网页里图片较多。如果有Flash,那么就更可怕了。

滚动和动画不流畅是安猪的通病。Atrix已经比我之前遇到过的好很多。App drawer里面滚动基本没有发现不流畅。但是很多其他操作还是明显卡卡的,虽然不如老的安猪手机卡。

摩托罗拉据说出于专利原因,一直没有开启滚动的力反馈反弹。这个不是很爽。但是到目前为止我最大的抱怨是以下几点:

1. 有些软键盘不支持多点触摸输入,也就是说按住一个按键不放,你不能输入其他字母。用iPhone习惯之后,你会发现用摩托的安猪打字经常会掉字母。这是因为我们果轮已经不习惯打完一个字母一定要把手指抬起来再按下一个。这个非常不爽。虽然摩托自带支持multi-touch的英文键盘,但是当安装了比如搜狗或QQ输入法之后,这些输入法就不支持。不像iOS那样,所有键盘都支持。

2. 没有屏幕截图功能。没有!安猪市场里面有一些程序,但是和操作系统版本关系很大,而且都需要root了系统才可以。相比之下,iPhone截图太方便,home + power,然后展示某些程序或界面或anything给朋友看都太方便。实在难以想象一个“开放”的系统连这么基本的功能都不具备,匪夷所思!

3. 进程很多。安装了一些东西之后,很多程序都会有后台daemon运行,因为系统没有一个统一的push notification的功能,所以潜在的问题是会多消耗一些系统资源,内存,电池寿命受到一些负面印象。不像iPhone上那样,我可以有50个程序都可以给我push notification,但是在安猪上,如果要这样,基本上意味着至少50个进程必须在后台运行或许数据。加上摩托自己的一些widget,google自己的数据同步服务,可想而知电池寿命会如何。不过电池寿命的问题,我还需要继续观察。

4. 屏幕rotation的问题。iOS上很好办。软件的,iPad的硬件的,都可以。安猪上就不那么容易,需要安装一些东西。进入系统设置修改也可以,但是麻烦。让人吃惊。虽然安猪可以很容易的装上widget开启关闭wifi, 3G, bluetooth这些,而iPhone需要JB之后装SBSettings。

5. “开放”的“自由”的安猪居然很多时候需要root之后才能装第三方程序。我也是费了点力才装上amazon appstore。说实话,这两个都不如App Store好用。

题外话,认识一个McAfee工作的人,他们做antivirus给安猪。安猪市场上有卖,AVG也有。这些都可以实时扫描。感觉回到Windows的年代。

以上都是较负面的感受。说一些正面的感受:

安猪还是比pre-iPhone时代的手机强很多的。如果你要求不高,对细节不挑剔不敏感,没用过iPhone,直接从dump phone到安猪,那么你感到happy的概率应该相当高。因为总的来说,功能上iPhone和安猪差别不是很大了。特别是iOS 5出来之后,差别将更小。

另外我iPhone上常用的很多软件,都有安猪版的了。所以即时换平台,也不会觉得太不适应,只是如果已经花钱买了很多iOS软件,真的没有理由到安猪上再买一遍。值得一提的是,确实安猪版的很多软件不如iPhone版的好,即使是同一个公司的软件。除了像Opera这样,iPhone版本做得比较差的,安猪版基本和iPhone版一样的体验。

能够安装第三方输入法还是蛮好的一件事情。虽然搜狗和腾讯不支持多点触摸实在让人扫兴。iPhone的英文纠错还不错,iOS 5上据说更好了。一直希望iPhone上的拼音也能纠错。腾讯的安猪拼音输入法就可以了,这个基本上是我想要的东西。

第一天感受暂时说这么多。

PS

忘记评论屏幕。

屏幕的话,虽然分辨率基本上和retina差不多,但是dpi确实低一些。虽然可是角度蛮好,明显比iPhone 3GS好,颜色在不同角度也比3GS好很多,但是最大的问题是毛糙的渲染。具体原因不是很清楚,但是灰色背景可以看到有pattern的颗粒。有些时候文字渲染的结果,也是字体边缘有时有些像素直接毛边,而不是很平滑的过度渐变。很多时候看到纯色块里有不少小黑点,应该是液晶pixel的间距。比较差。不知道是安猪的问题,还是这个液晶的问题,因为以前在三星的AMOLED屏幕上看到过类似的问题。但是也见过有blog用放大镜观察三星的AMOLED发现像素间距比iPhone 和iPod touch的retina大不少。iPhone 4是很好的屏幕。iPod touch的像素间距素质应该和iPhone一样,但是可视角度和颜色准确度都不如。3GS的屏幕比这些都差一些。

更新:

我也是想肯定有人比较过放大后的屏幕差别。果然,Anandtech不让人失望。

iPhone 4
iPhone 4 LCD

Moto Atrix LCD
Atrix 4G LCD

Turn your Mac into a WebDAV server

Good news is that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will no longer have a server version. Instead all the server tools will be included in the typical version of Mac OS X.

But strangely, despite Apple’s support for WebDAV across Mac OS X and iOS devices, it is not possible to easily turn your Mac into a WebDAV server. For example, the iWorks app on iPad can export files to WebDAV server. But there is no easy way to export it directly to your Mac, because even though in “sharing” settings you can share your files by AFP, FTP or Samba(Windows), you cannot set up WebDAV share.

So I found this tutorial that have easy to follow steps to turn your Mac into a WebDAV server. Of course if you do not have a static IP address or domain name, you will be in more trouble but I am not going to cover that aspect. I have confirmed that it works with iOS iWork apps. Unfortunately it seems the folder has to be in /Library/WebServer/WenDAV. Luckily you can always hard link it to your working folder somewhere else.

Blu-ray a bag of hurt?

A new blog post by Marco looked at Blu-ray and whether it is a bag of hurt as Steve Jobs puts it.

Well I have to admit that I recently purchased a Philips Blu-ray player. But it was open box and cost less than $90, so the player itself wasn’t too bad. But last weekend I rented a Blu-ray movie to watch and then found out that the extra features are not available because this is a “rental” disk. Basically, I have to pay over $20 for a Blu-ray disk for any additional contents. I would say $20+ for a Blu-ray movie, and rental disk have no extra features, hurts, my feels and would hurt my wallet.

Yes the 1080p resolution looked great on my HDTV. I have Apple TV 2 as well. The 720p rental from iTunes is not that bad compared to 1080p, but definitely not as good. I think currently the iTunes movie rental is also overpriced. $4.99 a pop for a 720p HD recent release. I would not pay for that. I can play Netflix on it too. But the quality is generally even worse.

With net neutrality basically dead, I wonder how much we would have to pay for the greedy entertainment industry in the future?

How Time Flies

There is no Flash on the first gen iPhone in 2007.
It was said that it was because when Adobe showed Apple their Flash Lite or something like that, the performance was so bad that there was not a chance Apple would include it.

It is already 2011, 4 years have passed. Adobe still doesn’t have a decent Flash player for ARM processor and mobile platform.

How time flies, and people don’t get any work done.

Naming a product is difficult

Just read an article that listed a number of things that tablet/slate/pad producers need to do in order to compete with Apple’s iPad. Well, one thing it mentioned was “don’t call it the DiscoSlate 3000”.

Well, obviously smartphone makers are smarter than most MP3 player makers. They have not followed the traditional naming scheme but adopted the more Apple-like scheme. Although I have noticed that it helps, but apparently they have not learned enough. Besides the names of “Android”, “Droid”, “Blackberry” and “Palm”, the other names are really helping much.

Here is an idea. HTC Dream Sapphire Hero Click Bravo Glacier Legend Incredible Espresso Buzz Liberty Supersonic Ace Desire HD7 HD2 Mozart (!??!) EVO…. LG chocolate revolution blablabla

I do not think anyone are able to remember all these names, or would be interested in finding out all the differences between these phones.

Yes, that is my point.

Interesting day

Talking about co-incidence.

I was wondering around on last.fm. Checked out an old “friend”‘s page there and clicked through a link, which inspired me to look up some groups. Then almost immediately I saw some picture familiar, which turned out to be someone from Blacksburg. Then I sent this person a message on both Facebook and last.fm.

Then I went to an old group I joined on last.fm, and noticed that the person who wrote Audioscrobber.app is the person behind Homebrew which I have been trying to use to replace Macports.

And this person recommended Braid, which intrigued me for a while. And then I noticed that the character in Braid is redhead. I don’t really care about blonds, but I have been intrigued by redheads recently. Anyways, I missed the humble bundle 2, but I bought Braid for $5 just to check it out from Steam. I am not a huge game fan, but I probably get bored some time and will play it.

Is Flash really faster? Or are Flash developers bad coders?

Someone made an animation in both HTML5 and Flash, in order to benchmark mobile devices such as iPhone and Android phones.

Google Nexus One performs better than iPhone in terms of HTML5. But that is because Android has JTI and iOS does not allow that for web pages. And the author claims Flash performs better and consumes less battery.

Well true for the HTML5 code he wrote.

Other people have quickly optimized his HTML5 codes to produce animations over twice as fast on my iPhone 3GS.
Exmaple One, Two, and Three.
Basically the original animation performs at 17fps on my iPhone 3GS, and the other three perform at 30-34fps, 40-42fps and 40-42fps respectively.

I do not recall Adobe doubling Flash performance very often for the past 5 years on both Mac and Linux.

The original author seems to be a bad coder, possible typical of all flash developers 🙂

iPad不够强大的一些解释

1. Safari的javascript不够强,可能和苹果不希望Web apps过于强大有关。

2. CPU没有更强大,和电池寿命有关。另外,如果功耗再大一点的话,连到USB上就完全都没法充电了。现在很多PC和老的Mac的USB供电都不足它消耗的。我现在接在MBP上,半小时也许冲进去1%,而且亮度还是一半。

3. 内存小,可能和苹果事实上没有计划支持第三方多任务有关。iPhone OS 4.0可能也不会有常规意义上的多任务,但可能有变种。另外内存小可以使得开发者用心开发高效率的软件,避免这个平台迅速bloat化。事实上,如果苹果可以保证iPhone OS比较lean的话,就意味着在以后的竞争中相比其他Bloat起来的Mobile platform更有优势。试想如果Android需要2X iPhone OS的CPU和内存才能较流畅运行,那么iPhone将在价格和性能上都占据优势。

iPad Review 测评

After over a day of usage, I think now I can review iPad.

Hardware

The hardware itself is very nice. It may feel heavier than expected, but I do not think it is a problem. As long as you don’t use single hand to hold it for extended period of time, it would be fine.

The anti finger print coating on the screen is ok but not as effective as expected, which would cause the viewable angle to be worse than expected for an IPS panel. But I guess for any touch screen device out there, iPad is already pretty good.

The basic 16GB model may show its limited storage capacity after a few months of use. And especially if Apple doesn’t allow iTunes/Lala streaming over Wi-Fi, putting music on iPad is something that will consume the most capacity for me. I hope this can change once iTunes in the cloud is available.

It has been immediately confirmed by me once I got the iPad, that there is only 256MB RAM for both OS and apps. This is totally unexpected. I thought there would be 512MB. I understand that the performance is the most important thing rather than specs, and iPad perform really well, but this is just a bad news for people expecting multi-task function in iPhone OS 4.0. I will also talk about this problem in the software section.

Audio quality wise I haven’t really tested.

Charging the battery on when it is connected to a computer is really slow. Connect directly to power outlet make it faster.

My first test of battery life gave me roughly 8.5 hours. It could be that it was not well fully charged. I am going to test this again. 8.5 hour batter life is achieved by 50% brightness, auto correct brightness, WiFi on all the time, playing games and also playing videos, music, and surf internet, installing apps, switching between apps very frequently. The screen is on all the time, therefore the battery life is still very impressive even if under very heavy use we can only get less than 10 hours.

Software

Most softwares look really nice. But I am also worried that this new trend of emulating real texture is a little big too much. I like the simple and elegant interface on Snow Leopard maybe a little better. Plus because the RAM is only 256MB, these textures definitely are wasting RAM.

Most things works smoothly and fast. But I think the Safari performed especially poorly. This is totally in contrast of other reviewers who claimed the Safari is very smooth and fast. I think that is totally not true. However I believe Apple will continue improve Safari performance on iPad, just like they did for iPhone.

But it is the limitation of RAM that makes Safari a little unpractical for intense web browsing. If I open a couple of web pages with a lot of graphics, it is almost for sure when I switch tab, the activated tab will have to reload. Why? Because Apple is unreasonable about local cache of web pages. When Safari run out of RAM, it will just kick the previously loaded tabs out of memory, instead of storing it on the NAND flash drive. Therefore it takes time to download again that web page, and rendering. This is such a waste of bandwidth and time and battery. I do not understand but I hope Apple will improve this. Because of the constant reloading of tabs, this surfing experience is in fact much worse than on my laptop. Steve Jobs claimed that the surfing experience on iPad is the best, but I do NOT agree. Unless you fix that reloading issue, it is really worse than laptops.

Also, Safari loads webpages about 2-3X slower than my Macbook Pro. But it is definitely about twice as fast as iPhone 3GS, this is also confirmed by other people. The javascript performance on iPad can also be further improved. Right now it is more than 10X slower than my Macbook Pro. I believe webkit team can optimized it better for ARM processor.

iBooks performance is ok when reading books. However other times I can feel the lag, and I do not have more than 5 books in the library.

There is no easy way to subscribe to Podcasts in the iTunes.app on iPad. This is a little bit sad.

I heard there will be a centralized mechanisms to manage files. Unfortunately most apps have not been taking advantage of that yet. I hope I can open PDF in a different program other than Papers, for example. But Papers doesn’t allow other programs to have access to those PDF files. And the PDF annotation software Aji PDF annotator doesn’t try to do that either. Hopefully these can be fixed by different developers.

There are a lot of media apps, such as NPR, which is very nice app. But the problem is there is no background playing. Apple should allow these content providers to do this easily. Because I do not always want to be listening to my iPad.app when doing other things on the iPad. And 16GB really doesn’t give me a lot of room for music either.

The Future

The iPad does that it is designed to do pretty well. And there are indeed quite a bit advanced apps on there already. This could indeed be the future of mobile computing. Windows XP/Vista/7 or Mac OS X by themselves could not perform at all on a 256MB RAM machine. iPad can, perhaps, make developers write more efficient code, and that’s good. Right now most apps on the desktop are bloated and use way too much RAM, including Safari and iTunes.

Doing some things on iPad is easier than on laptop or desktop. Its performance is good, but of course will not be able to compete with laptops. The App Store is what makes iPad great. All the applications on iPad can make it more useful than laptops and netbooks.

Because of 256MB RAM limitation, I do not see much hope for multi-tasking. But on the other hand I plan to use iPad together with my laptop sometimes when reading some research papers, so it is not that bad. And perhaps it may help people concentrate on one thing at a time? But it is still ridiculous for Apple to sell $800+ machines with 256MB RAM in them.

关于Google

Mr. Schmidt made the argument he long has, according to these people, namely that it is moral to do business in China in an effort to try to open up the regime. Mr. Brin strenuously argued the other side, namely that the company had done enough trying and that it could no longer justify censoring its search results.

From WSJ via Daring Fireball.

In fact, if you dig deep enough, you may find stories about Brin how he is anti China and anti Chinese government. It is not surprising considering his “origin”.

However, I think Google has gone too far. And I would call Google a big fat liar because their chief legal officer said, years back when Google entered China, it is not for financial interest but to help making China more open. What? Who has a sane mind would actually believe that? Like I said, Google is just trying to gain moral high ground and making itself look good, just a PR strategy.

Essentially, as my previous blog has continued to show, that China has problem in freedom of speech, yes. But for US, it is also very problematic. Some Americans, as I’ve seen, are saying as long as Google filter child porn, it is ok if they don’t filter political content that Chinese government doesn’t like. But hey, you know, Child porn is filtered in the US based on US law. Who do you think Google is not to abide Chinese law to not to filter all the porn?

US has an effective control over speech. Just in a different form and way from China. Google may not block certain content in the US. But essentially it is not heaven and hell difference.

While I would be extremely happy if China stop censoring or blocking websites, I am not on the side of Google. Even less when Google is pretending to be the freedom defender. Remember, Schmidt did not even think privacy is that important on the internet because if you don’t want other people to know what you did, you better not do it. Google is totally far away from a saint company. No matter how hard you try to make you look like one.

审视Google

I use Gmail and Google Reader most.
Seriously Gmail is so dated. I am sick of it but so tied to it. It does have more features than many other email system. But it is ugly, messy, and have absolutely no style and difficult on the eye.

Google doc is still mediocre. But I still use it. Because there is nothing better.

Of course, I almost forgot, Google search. It is probably still the best. But Google hasn’t really innovate in this area for a long time while Yahoo and Microsoft is doing some nice things. There are still many problems with search, I am still often not very satisfied with search results. But ok… Google is still the king.

Google map is ok. But the POI mistakes are just ruining it. Experienced a few times.

Google Video is a joke.

Google Voice is ok. I use it because of free SMS.

Google books… I don’t know. I don’t use it.

Google Translate… not easy to use. But I can use it if I bare with it.

Blogs… really? how many people still use Google’s blogs

Calendar.. is ok. But now I am back to MobileMe becuase it can push to my iPhone and sync with MobileMe cloud.

Photos… I basically only see Chinese people use Picasa web albums. And it is ugly. Flickr feels better.

Reader… probably the No.1 thing I like about Google right now.

Others… many failed products.

Google checkout: never took off.

Google desktop really still anyone use it on Windows 7?

iGoogle is probably the most ugly customized home page on earth. I would take Yahoo or netvibes instead of it.

Product search is ok. helps me find cheap stuff sometimes. But often the price other calculations are inaccruate and frustrating. And it seems it still doesn’t understand the different between British pounds and US dollars.

Google toobar… no thanks. I am not over 50 years old.

Trends… gimick products. Fun sometimes, overall quite useless.

Google code… I wish sourceforge is still the god. Google code.. the interface is just…

Orkut… what’s that?!

Sites… does anyone use this?

Talk… ok…I use it sometimes. But why can’t I send files? And I use it with Adium. Basically, it is not even feature rich compared to AIM or Yahoo Messenger.