Ramblings Of a Madman

Yeah, like i would know a good description…

Posts for Tag: hardware

The iPad2 - or rethinking my android tablet purchase

So here's the deal: I had planned to purchase a honeycomb-based tablet as my sabbatical leave of absence going away present to myself. I was carefully considering all the pros and cons of both the Motorola Xoom and the new 10" Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Between the two of them discovered the latter has a better general body finish, as well as slightly better front camera. Besides, Samsung has had the first tab out there for some time now, which means they have some more experience in regards to what works and what doesn't, as building tablets goes.

The problem is that I just tried an ipad2 for the first time. And, besides feeling super snappy and slick, it's so shinny :). I might have fallen for this thing already.

The price is more appealing as well: 549 euro for the 32GB wifi version. I can't imagine either the galaxy or the xoom matching this anytime soon. Not before the ipad3 comes out anyway ;)

UPDATE: Alright, i sold my soul to the devil: Ordered an iPad2, arriving at the end of the month :)

Summing up Apple's keynote

Apple had an event yesterday. And i saw that it was goooood. Seriously now, i was pleasantly surprised by - well - the surprises that were shown by Steve and co. Here's a brief sum of coolness:

iLife 11 This update to the iLife family of products is one of the best ever, in my opinion.

iPhoto got yet more social features into it, like the ability to display your Facebook photo albums, as well as comments from your friends on those photos, and the fact that you can zoom to a particular part of the world map and, with one click, see the pictures inside that area. Other interesting features include a full screen mode, that takes away everything that is peripherical when organizing your pictures. They also introduced new slideshow templates and the books feature is very, very enhanced, showing a bookcase with all the photo book projects you have created and giving you complete control on the generation of the book.

iMovie also was added a lot of nice new features. The most notable include the long waited ability to edit audio directly in the timeline, like adjusting the sound level (even for just parts of a clip) and do fade ins and fade outs. Another great feature is the trailers part. It can now help you take your favorite footage and create movie-trailer-like movies, effortlessly. I can see myself using almost all these features in my podcast :D

GarageBand got some love as well: Between the ability to match the groove, or beat, of a track to another one, hence turning out-of-sync tracks into fully synced ones (which looks like magic), and a feature that reminds me of Guitar Hero called "How did i play", GarageBand gets an incredible boost in terms of helpful features for artists and aspiring musicians.

No word on the rest of the products, but i can imagine some updates as well, though probably minor. FaceTime for Mac Yep, it's here and fully available. You can now make video calls between iPhones and Macs (or macs and macs as well). Pretty awesome, though i wonder what will happen to iChat, and why wasn't that integrated… Mac AppStore Will be available in 90 days time (yes, also for Snow Leopard) and will rock. These guys are going to make a ton of money on this thing. And for the end user, well, it means no longer manually installing updates for your favorite apps or using the (somehow) disparate software update mechanism in OSX. MacBook Air In one word: "Freakinawesome" :) No more spinning drives (yes, that means no optical drive as well: goodbye DVDs), which pretty much makes them lighter and smaller. 2 versions are available, one 13 inch and one 11 inch. The prices go from $999 to $1599, depending on the version and options you want. OSX 10.7 Lion They showed off some new features, though the most notable ones are:

A new dashboard: Where you can see all your installed apps from the Mac AppStore, like you do one your iPhone (yes, sliding panels and everything), and group them as well; Full screen apps. Meaning, real fullscreen goodness for your applications. They basically want to make Lion a bridge between traditional OSX and the iOS, where every app is basically fullscreen; Something called mission control, where you can see an overview of every app that is running on your Mac, be it fullscreen or windowed. Think Exposé, but better arranged.

What about you? What are your thoughts on Apple's new features?

Apple quietly renovates the MacMini

And i must say it looks beautiful! It features twice the graphics speed, HDMI connector (finally!), a thin unibody aluminum case, and a built in power supply (which means no more big power transformer in along the power cable). I love it and i definitely want one connected to my TV in my living room :) Check it out at Apple's website.

Altruistic USB plug

I have to say i love the concept: A USB plug that becomes a USB slot itself, when connected. Check it out, here.

[caption id="attachment_898" align="alignnone" width="369" caption="InfiniteUSB"][/caption]

Lack of RAM will kill your blog host virtual machine

I know what you are thinking: "Well, duh Pedro, how come you didn't know that?".

I'll explain: Recently i started having some service shortages on my blog. From times to times the CPU usage would just go rooftop and then nginx and apache both stopped serving requests. I am using Linode as my host, where i have a nice virtual machine (or node, as they call it) with some reasonable values in terms of CPU and bandwidth monthly usage. The weakest link was the RAM; it only had 386Mb.

A while back i developed Jumperr.com and i figured "hey, i already have the node, so i'll just host it there". Some time after deploying jumperr, i started noticing these shortages coming up maybe once a month, or every two weeks (i notice the pattern now, not then :)). At some point i even considered switching hosts (to slicehost, for example), but i never thought that memory could be the problem (after all they are not that accessed anyways). Looking at the system logs i just could not figure out what made the machine stop working just like that.

About one month ago, i decided to develop a stupid website that allows you to bomb countries using a Google maps interface. And then, surprise, the shortages became more and more frequent (sometimes 4 per day!). In one of these fails i decided to try to login to the node using Linode's ajax ssh interface on their dashboard. And that's when i saw it: a bunch of "out of memory" errors right on the boot list. Since when you connect normally via SSH you don't see the prompt on the remote end, i never saw these before.

So there you go, lesson learned. If it spikes, chances are you are out of memory :)

By the way, if you are a proper Linux/Unix admin, was there a log that might contain those errors that i missed?

Can't touch this (iphone) nah, nah nah nah

Ok, this is so freaking hilarious that i cannot help it but sharing. It seems that, when faced with the impossibility of using their iPhones with gloves on, some Koreans have started using miniature sausages (yes, sausages) for that effect. It seems that the composition of the sausage is similar enough to a human finger for the touch screen to work.

I wonder what someone in the 80s would say if you told them that - in the future - people will use sausages as a way to interact with computers...

Things i wanted in Apple's iPad (tablet)

Cool as it may be, i cannot but feel disappointed with Apple's newest unveiling - the iPad:

No camera - Really? In this day and age of videoconferencing?!? What are you guys thinking? No GPS - It does have assisted (wifi/3G) GPS but it's not quite the same, is it? Especially when you don't have wifi or 3G available; No magical, shiny, new multi-touch UI paradigm - Maybe i was affected too much by the hype that has been created around it but i like to be surprised. And i have to say i wasn't. Apart from the changes to the iWork suite to make it usable on a touch screen there is nothing really awesome about it; No multitasking - No comments there. I wonder if it has copy & paste? No phone calls (and SMS's) - Has 3G but you cannot make phone calls or send messages? Doesn't make sense to me; 64 GBs is really not enough for what you are going to want to carry around in it.

Now things that i *do* like in the iPad, so that this is not a bashing post:

It looks like the mockups that drifted on the internet before. And those looked cool; The iBook application and store. As long as they support free/open PDF files; Seems to be powerful enough to play basic 3D games (quake II - like); Battery life is really nice. 10 hours for normal usage and up to 1 month in stand-by mode; The price was a nice surprise. I always said that they would compete with netbooks' prices and apparently i was not mistaken; I love the keyboard dock and also the hard cover that changes into stand. Really clever!

That being said, i believe this is nothing more than a big iPod touch (not even an iPhone, since you cannot make phone calls) and will not deserve my $499 this time.

Some Apple tablet features

Jason Calacanis apparently had access to the Apple table 10 days ago. If you take a look at his status update feed on twiter, you find really interesting reports about the table, namely:

It will have an "ebook reader" mode that saves a lot of battery time; Battery life for gaming/wifi is around 2/3 hours; He hints that people will be able to play first person shooters on this thing, the specs must be awesome; Will have 2 cameras. One that shoots what is in front of you, another shoots you; Solar power pad in the back for recharging; OLED screen; At&T AND Verizon contracts available, probably; Thumbpads on each side for gestures. Reads fingerprints for security; Builtin HDTV tuner; The price will be 599, 699 and 799 depending on size and memory;

If his tweets are accurate, then we have an awesome device coming up indeed :)

Things i wanted in Apple's iPad (tablet)

Cool as it may be, i cannot but feel disappointed with Apple's newest unveiling - the iPad:

No camera - Really? In this day and age of videoconferencing?!? What are you guys thinking? No GPS - It does have assisted (wifi/3G) GPS but it's not quite the same, is it? Especially when you don't have wifi or 3G available; No magical, shiny, new multi-touch UI paradigm - Maybe i was affected too much by the hype that has been created around it but i like to be surprised. And i have to say i wasn't. Apart from the changes to the iWork suite to make it usable on a touch screen there is nothing really awesome about it; No multitasking - No comments there. I wonder if it has copy & paste? No phone calls (and SMS's) - Has 3G but you cannot make phone calls or send messages? Doesn't make sense to me; 64 GBs is really not enough for what you are going to want to carry around in it.

Now things that i *do* like in the iPad, so that this is not a bashing post:

It looks like the mockups that drifted on the internet before. And those looked cool; The iBook application and store. As long as they support free/open PDF files; Seems to be powerful enough to play basic 3D games (quake II - like); Battery life is really nice. 10 hours for normal usage and up to 1 month in stand-by mode; The price was a nice surprise. I always said that they would compete with netbooks' prices and apparently i was not mistaken; I love the keyboard dock and also the hard cover that changes into stand. Really clever!

That being said, i believe this is nothing more than a big iPod touch (not even an iPhone, since you cannot make phone calls) and will not deserve my $499 this time.

Some Apple tablet features

Jason Calacanis apparently had access to the Apple table 10 days ago. If you take a look at his status update feed on twiter, you find really interesting reports about the table, namely:

It will have an "ebook reader" mode that saves a lot of battery time; Battery life for gaming/wifi is around 2/3 hours; He hints that people will be able to play first person shooters on this thing, the specs must be awesome; Will have 2 cameras. One that shoots what is in front of you, another shoots you; Solar power pad in the back for recharging; OLED screen; At&T AND Verizon contracts available, probably; Thumbpads on each side for gestures. Reads fingerprints for security; Builtin HDTV tuner; The price will be 599, 699 and 799 depending on size and memory;

If his tweets are accurate, then we have an awesome device coming up indeed :)