Tag Archives: Apple

On Marco and Apple Software Quality Decline

I saw the Marco blog post moments after it was published. I also saw it spreading like wildfire today: a lot of press coverage. I knew Marco wouldn’t be pleased with how it turned out. And he indeed wrote up another post to reflect on this. I was going to see what he said on Twitter but didn’t follow through the search. Twitter is too much for me nowadays.

My opinion is this.

Maybe he did use words too harsh, but overall he was correct. He spoke my mind. I immediately shared that post. I have also been complaining about it with friends for at least a year. I talked about this with people around me already a number of times. Not just me, other people chimed in too. Even Macdailynews posted an open letter about this (although it felt like they were riding on Marco’s back but I am sure they also completely agreed). The only problem was, Marco was too famous already. So the “Apple is doomed” sensationalism naturally built on top of it. If he is less famous it would have just stayed within the Apple enthusiastic circle.

But the positive thing is, after all these media attention, even though Marco doesn’t want to be associated with it, I think maybe Apple and Cook will finally pay attention to this big problem.

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.

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.

First post from iPad

I am sending my first blog post from the iPad. The keyboard is not bad. I can type pretty fast after a couple hours of chatting on iPad. I think it would not be a big issue without the physical keyboard. For light content creation it is fine. I am typing pretty fast right now.

I like many things about it. There are still some disappointment here and there. I might write up a review soon.

联通iPhone 3G的资费确实贵

美国资费:
我和别人共享一个家庭计划。550分钟一个月,外加晚上9点以后到第二天6点以前无限,拨打AT&T用户无限,周末无限。不包含短信。上网无限流量,不过一般也只能用掉几百兆的流量。实际两个人用掉电话时间为约平均300-400分钟每月。每个人费用大约$60每月。折合人民币约¥400。机器为$180美元购买。折合¥1224。没打完的分钟数可以积累起来,一年有效期。

比较联通资费:
最接近我的资费的计划为:

¥1799购机 + 预存¥5200 (???!!!) =一次支付¥6999 = $1020
每月还款¥217,两年还款¥5208,等于预存话费。

接听免费。Good
包含1250分钟。完全打不完,不过还算比较多了。
数据流量:1.6GB。勉强,至少AT&T自称无限流量,外加AT&T Wi-Fi热点无限使用。
包含短信: 380条。不错,AT&T不送短信。
彩信:40条。贵,少!AT&T,5美元,200条短信,包含文本和彩信不区分。

预存2年话费,利息都不得了。居然不怎么优惠。
这个资费标准,综合起来,基本上和美国消费水准差不多。实在是。。。不适合中国人消费能力。

AAC Encoding in Snow Leopard or iTunes 9.x Dramatically Improved?

Figures show it all.
tori

NIN

faye

XLD is app on Mac OS X that uses CoreAudio to encode AAC. Basically that’s what iTunes was using.

My parameter for XLD was:
True VBR
Encoder quality: Max
Target quality: ~111
Resulted bitrate is around 256kbps, sometimes over 300kbps

Nero 1.3.3.0 was used for my older encodings
And I used Foobar2000 to encode and choose the best settings I could. And resulted in ~200kbps file.

What does this mean?
I know eventually for SQ we need listen test. But these graph suggest dramatic improvement of compression? Or not.
If it is indeed improvement, I probably have to ditch all my nero encoded files…And redo all the rip and such. Painful!

试比较iPod classic, Sony A816及iPhone的音质

器材:
iPod classic 80GB, 6th gen
Sony Walkman NWZ-A816
iPhone 1st gen

MITBBS团购耳机

主要比较了iPod classic和Sony NWZ-A816。
关于iPhone的音质,明显不如以上两者色彩丰富,显得比较平坦和平淡,缺乏跳跃感。但是人声定位iPhone优于Sony。

首先,耳机插入三个播放器,iPod classic最安静,没有任何一点电流hiss。看来网上的测评属实。Sony和iPhone有差不多程度的hiss。

首先比较了王菲的《过眼云烟》。

这里要指出,iPod classic乐器的定位,人声的定位,都要比Sony的清晰。Sony的入耳非常鲜艳,高音灵动得非常跳跃,有些时候甚至到了刺激的程度。但是我发现Sony也许过度加强了高音,因为王菲的声音感觉太虚空,定位也不准,有点四面八方向我涌来的感觉,还是前方几个不同的小方向间歇向我扑来。而且上下高低不稳。背景音乐的高音确实很跳跃,但是也有定位不太准确的感觉。iPod classic里,王菲的声音稳定多了,定位准确,各种声音,特是空灵高音多的时候,没有声音四处乱窜的感觉。但是也确实少了一些鲜艳的色彩。而且,iPod classic的中音和低音部分感觉也比Sony清晰,而且常常更有力。钢琴的声音尤为明显。iPod classic不仅更清晰,而且按下去的力量表现
得比Sony有力不少。Sony的钢琴,几乎只是隐隐约约听到,不但缺乏清晰感,也没有力量。感觉Sony的声音被空灵的乱窜的高音全部占据了。

接下来换了一首alternative rock + electronic的歌。Wired All Wrong的Elevatin。男声在Sony里面有和王菲一样的感觉。定位不准,虚空,偏高,高音过亮。全面看来,iPod classic背景音乐色彩不如Sony鲜艳,但是也并不能叫差,因为我怀疑Sony的鲜艳色彩是高音带来的。iPod classic的全音域都定位准确,也没有觉得中音被过多的高音
掩盖掉。低音仍然更加有力一点。但是音乐画面的跳跃感确实不如Sony。不过人声真的是稳定多了,男声没有闪烁的高音在窜。

再换一首有钢琴,较低节奏和女声的Tori Amos: iieee。女声的差别基本和王菲一样。低音iPod classic更为清楚有力一些。

接下来换了一首主要是Banjo,男声,女声背景,吉他的音乐。iPod classic的Banjo的弦感觉历历在目,清晰可分。Sony虽然更加鲜艳,但是比较混作一团。基本是类似前面的感觉。

结论:

Sony的表现力总体更鲜艳,更跳跃。但是由于我感觉Sony高音过度空灵,或者过亮,而且常有声音乱窜的感觉,人声更是不稳重,我觉得这些大概是鲜艳和跳跃之余带来的副作用。iPod classic声音总体不如Sony鲜艳和跳跃,但是定位清晰,人声稳重,一直几乎都没有感觉刀有声音乱窜的感觉,而且中音和低音相比稍更清晰,而且有些乐器,比
如钢琴,明显更有力。iPhone的声场定位类似iPod classic但是更加平面,平淡无色。人声还算稳定,不过不如iPod classic的好。

回想前些时候看别人谈论声音音场和定位,我一直觉得难以捉摸,因为我一般是用Sony + 团购耳机作为我目前最高级别搭配。现在看来,大概确实是Sony声音定位不准,而且过于跳跃和乱窜,导致我对定位没有任何感觉。

最后,iPod classic对于有些高音的表现力确实比Sony差。特别是有很多高音的音乐,色彩感一下子就感觉差了一些。但是iPod classic和Sony A816的音质总体差异并不是天上地下的感觉。相比iPhone的音质和两者的差别更大一些。不过我觉得iPod classic整体的效果我更喜欢,人声不再虚空,位置明确,不会上蹿下跳,也很人声也很稳重的样子。

希望大家轻拍。我个人认为我客观的写出了我的测评感受。每首歌片段都是反复听了至少2次以上,直到我确定我认出了区别为止。虽然我个人偏爱苹果产品,但是作为音质,我之前一直都认为Sony比iPhone音质明显要好的。但是iPod classic果然是没有让我失望,虽然不那么鲜艳,但是综合起来我真的是更喜欢。

苹果新产品比较让人失望

总结如下

MB:
– 1299的CPU速度降低
– 价格提高
– 没有了Firewire端口
– 一年老的低端型号居然还卖999
– Jobs无耻的声称这是1999降到1299
– 实际上液晶比MBP差太多

MBP:
– video-out的配件要自己买了
– 价格不变
– 没有matte屏幕只有glossy了
– 边框似乎变大了
– USB 只有2个而且只有一个FW800
– 最大内存支持只有4G
– 默认2G已经把所有内存插槽用掉,MB同

MBA:
– nothing much has changed, except better graphics
– 为什么没有64GB SSD型号?可以有相对低价的SSD型号

Cinema Display
– 没有FW端口了: 苹果要彻底放弃FW吗?问题是USB现在还不行阿

总体:
edu discount减少了很多!!!
貌似苹果正在离开graphics pro这个市场群.

Western media mastered the art of propaganda

So, iTunes was promoting the album “Songs for Tibet” and caused resentment among Chinese both overseas and in China. A couple of days ago, iTunes Store was blocked by China. It was a big deal for the western media because they found another thing they can attack.

Today Associated Press reported from Beijing, that,

Blocked iTunes users poured out their frustration on Internet bulletin boards.

“It seems like suspending iTunes is punishment for iTunes, but really it doesn’t hurt iTunes, it hurts us,” said a note on macfans.com.cn, a Chinese site for Apple users.

I was totally surprised. So I went to macfans.com.cn and found out that, the main thread talking about the block, people are NOT complaining it is blocked. Chinese people on this forum agreed iTunes should pay for this. What they actually said were like this:

Oh, I thought it was my software’s problem I cannot access it.

This time Apple did something inappropriate, there’s nothing we can say now.

This time they (the great firewall) reacted too slow.

Isn’t it on iTunes before the olympics? They are too slow to react.

They deserved it by violating Chinese law and regulation; the block came too late!

Apple has no common sense and made a big mistake.

Great!

Apple doesn’t care about Chinese people.

I demand the custom ban all Apple products from import. Show Steve Jobs we mean business!

In Jobs’ eyes there is no Chinese market. He doesn’t care.

I support the ban.

If there is content on MobileMe that supports Tibet independence, it should be banned too.

and many more like these.

So I have yet to see anyone who is actually annoyed by the ban. Totally different from what AP reported. Yet, Americans will believe whatever they read. And they will call Chinese brainwashed if we don’t believe what their media like AP says. Because western media has mastered the art of propaganda.

Wall-E is an A rated movie!

Wall-E. I finally watched it today. Has been expecting this since Ratatouille. It is an amazing movie. With so little dialogs in this movie, it successful became the best Robot movie ever made, IMO. If you want a moving, touching Robot movie, look no further, A.I. or I, Robot are not comparable.

Aside from everything that’s great, the human plot is the weakest. I often felt it ruined some of the good about this movie. And it is not really convincing. However, an happy ending is always expected for such kind of movie. If only there is an artistic version of Wall-E may we see alternative ending. But I cannot really blame.

So apparently, Ratatouille is probably the best rat movie. Now introducing the best robot movie.

And, to some extend, this movie is indeed, sort of, an Apple commercial.

Oh, I think the soundtrack is nice too. Although sometimes I dislike some reprising at some scenes.

Migrate Time Machine Backup from External Hard Drive to Airport Disk

Time capsule, a combination of hard drive and airport extreme is a sweet idea. The hard drive is server grade, meaning it is much less likely to fail. However, Time Capsule is expensive, and cannot be easily expanded or upgraded.

Luckily Apple made Airport Disk compatible with Time Machine since Mac OS X 10.5.2, although it is an unsupported feature. But anyone who is budget sensitive can enjoy wireless whole system backup.

The problem is, many people like me have been using Time Machine with external hard drive for a while now. We don’t want to lose our older backups. However, Apple has not provided us a tool to migrate our backups from these external hard drives to Time Capsule or Airport Extreme Base Station’s Airport Disk. We cannot simply copy these files to Airport Disk, because of hard links. And Apple uses folders to store backups when the hard drive is attached to the computer. But sparse bundle disk image is used on Time Capsule or Airport Disk.

I searched online and could not find a tutorial to solve this migration problem. After doing some research, I have solved this problem, so I am sharing my experience with you, with the following tutorial I believe is easy enough for anyone to do it.

Continue reading Migrate Time Machine Backup from External Hard Drive to Airport Disk

化解对苹果无知的人的”憎恨”

为对苹果不了解而憎恨苹果的人设计的FAQ

Q: 苹果的单键鼠标简直是…
A: 苹果的单键作为一个传统,确实是被长期保存的.对于长期的苹果用户而言,并非是一个真正的不方便,因为多数苹果软件并不需要太多的右键点击.右键的功能也都可以在菜单里面实现.一个被忽视的单键优势,是多数时候你向用户解释鼠标的时候,就只需要说点击.我无数次遇到向入门级PC用户解释右键,而他们总是左键的情况.

另外,这个和苹果的鼠标设计也有关系.当你使用单键的时候,手会相对更轻松.特别是后来的设计,整个鼠标就是一个按键,整个鼠标上层塑料就是一个按键,这个时候用户会用整个手来按下去,而不是只用指尖.较早前的设计,用户会用多个手指来同时按下鼠标按键.这种设计对于长时间的电脑用户 来说,是更舒适的.

而按键的数量在Windows下长期是双键,UNIX下是三键,可见这个更多的是系统的偏好设计.何况苹果后来出的鼠标看起来是一个按键,但是其实是双键.从MacBook和MacBook Pro开始,看似单键的trackpad其实比多数PC笔记本的双键设计更好用.

Q: 好多PC上的软件苹果上不能用…
A: 这个其实就不是苹果自己的问题.多数软件都是第三方开发的.而由于苹果长期作为弱势系统,理所当然开发者数量无法和Windows相比.而且多数软件开发者仅为一个平台开发,所以多数软件只会有Windows版,或者苹果版,或者Linux版.这个问题其实并非任何人的错.何况苹果上和Windows下类似的软件相当多.

Q: 苹果上的软件比Windows下的差多了
A: 苹果下的软件的设计理念和Windows下的是很不一样的.苹果下的软件往往有统一的使用规则,用户界面风格,以及共通的设计理念.通常苹果下的软件界面简洁明了,以易用性,简洁和美观为第一位.因此确实有不少苹果下的软件不如Windows下的功能多.但是用户赢得的是易用性和使用的舒适.而且由于Windows下软件设计规则不统一,不同的软件往往界面设计截然不同,或者行为方式也很不一样,给用户带来很多迷茫.除此以外,如果你熟悉了Windows软件再来用苹果,当然会有不适应.但是事实上苹果下软件的设计其实不比Windows差,更多的时候有更好的设计,其实只是需要适应罢了.

Q: 苹果的兼容性太差
A: 兼容是一个相互的过程.苹果的系统毕竟不是Windows,必然存在兼容性的问题.不过这么多年的发展已经使得苹果的兼容性突飞猛进.大多数情况下用户不会体验到严重的兼容性问题.而事实上,如果苹果系统是占有更多市场份额的系统,那么现在的Windows对于苹果的兼容可能更是惨不忍睹.

Q: 苹果上居然没有QQ,没有Bitcomet,没有PPLive…
A: 不同的系统就是有不同的应用软件.你只能适应这样一个事实.如果你离不开某些软件,那么不要用苹果.也有很多人因为以来苹果下的软件,而不愿意转换系统.