Archive for April, 2013

User non-serviceable parts

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Since the MacBook Air more and more Macs, Ultrabooks, and regular, old fashioned laptops (not to mention smartphones, …) come without user serviceable battery, storage, memory, etc. Most people argue: “It is not that bad, when do you ever change the battery? And changing memory and storage? Thats for geeks only anyway, …”

More real life examples why this really sucks:

Of course the biggest reason is the battery. If you gonna use your laptop a serious amount of time (2-3 years++) you definitely need to have the battery replaced at least once. Unless –of course– you just keep your laptop on a desk, always connected to a power source. Likewise, previously I always had another battery for my cellphone when traveling abroad. Now with the iPhone I often find myself in a situation where it emergency powers down approaching the end of longer travels. Yes, one could carry those external charging battery packs. But first of all they are usually bigger, can not instantly be exchanged into the phone, and last but not least: in that case I could carry the matching battery to swap in the first place.

But today came an even bigger point in case: I got one of those faulty Retina MacBooks that have this image retaining LG panels, ieek! After some months with this annoyance I finally wanted Apple to replace it. Turns out they will repair it instead of just swapping the machine, and this may take up to 2 weeks++ (here in Germany, at least, …). Now I have of course many personal files, source, images, documents, on it, … With those nice black polycarbonate MacBooks I could just remove the hard disk without opening the case at all. And leave all my source code and documents here at home while the machine is in service.

Now? I have to make sure I have a perfect, recent backup. Then zero out the flash storage, just to replay the backup when I finally get the machine back.

What a really major waste of time (and flash write cycles).

And it is of course a scandal that Apple sold such faulty display on such a high-end machine in the first place :-/ !1!

Brave new world :-/

The decline of Microsoft Windows (8)

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

So the latest Microsoft Windows PC and Nokia phone sales do not look particularly well.

My too cent?

After decades of Microsoft quality (dysfunctional at best, often crashing at worst – yes it got better with NT, …) and surrounding consumer (dis-) satisfaction - customers are more than happy to finally have the possibility to choose something else! With pleasure! Apple iOS, Android for smartphones and tables that can do a lot what previously was done on a PC, and even turning to the exclusive Mac OS, and associated Macintosh hardware. Of course many will not get a Mac, nor the more experimental (and limited) Google Chromebooks. But investing in an not-too-cheap smartphone, whether it is an iOS or Android, draws away enough money, that in the end a few year old PC is just kept to do the heavier content creation and such. It is plenty fast for that anyway.

Is that bad? For Microsoft, Nokia, and classic PC vendors certainly. Maybe using old PCs even saves the environment a bit, even more so the less energy hungry phones and tablets for email, surfing and video.

For Nokia it certainly was not the smartest move. Even by improving Symbian they may have been more successful. It at least was selling well and had plenty of fans, … They already had their own Linux phones going they could have further build upon.

And for the rest of us? I think the current trend to more diversity (although currently mostly limited to iOS and Android, but thru Android at least also several different manufactures) will be good for all of us. In the future a more diverse landscape will make it easier for entirely new systems, whether based on Linux, BSD, QNX, or entirely new -from scratch- to gain some attention and market share. I personally remember how hard it was to convince someone to switch from Windows to Linux in the beginning of this millennium when Microsoft had a quasi monopoly with somewhere around 90% market share, …

Samsung Series 9: The mostly better MacBook Air

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

For some years now, I can not find the perfect laptop. The issue with most Apple MacBooks is the way too glossy screens, a sharp aluminum case border that presses into the wrist, an enormous screen bezel, often no Ethernet anymore. Of course most PCs are so ridiculously ugly plastic crap I would not even bother to look at all day. The Lenovo X230 comes quite close, but the display resolution, … so low it really hurts. The mid-2012 Samsung Series 9 (900X3 or so for 13″) is quite nice:

It does so many things better than the MacBook Air it inspires from: Outstanding display (Full HD: 1920 x 1080, the Air only has 1440 x 900) and even mate! Much smaller screen bezel, looks gorgeous, wastes less space. Even optional in black anodized aluminum: yummy!

The drawbacks? Well beside Windows (one would use Linux anyway, maybe Hackintosh would do, too), RAM! How can they ship the 13 inch version with just 4GB max? With this plenty of screen real estate, mate display it would make such an excellent developer machine. But some more than 4GB of RAM would be highly appreciated (even Apple’s MacBook Air allows up to 8 GB) for this and future proof (Hello planned obsolescence at it’s best?).

But worst of it all? The 3mm power plug! Are they kidding? Such an “not so cheap” (not to call it expensive) machine and then a jack that not only pulls the laptop from the table if someone trips on the cable, but even likely breaks and leaves the tiny metal pin stuck inside? Seldom saw such a nonsense. Mag Safe like connector anyone?

Android phones, HTC One

Friday, April 5th, 2013

After the scratchy iPhone 5 aluminum case I was seriously considering to finally try an Android phone. Most of the Android phones feel just extremely cheap and and do not even look good doing so, … Despite the likewise scratchy aluminum case the HTC One really looked sexy and promising. But a phone where the battery is even less changeable than in the iPhone? Thanks, but no thanks! … :-/ However, apparently due to supply chain constraints it very hard to get hands on, even less so buying one anyway.

Trying it out in a store, I also find Android confusing to use. The widget screen and settings are pretty cluttered and even browsing the internet did not feel so “snappy”. Sidenote: The HTC One screen in the shop was already broken, and the HTC promotion person did not look particularly “cultivated” (to say it friendly). I really wonder how they can showcast their product like that, … And when the screen is already broken at the demo unit in store it probably breaks likewise quickly (one one of the first drops) at home, hm?

For me this Android looks downright confusing to use, the settings and app screen are cluttered, but maybe that is the result of some HTC customization. Which brings us to what I think it the biggest Android problem: Every manufacture customizes some strange heck out of it, the result is an even more confusing experience going from one device to another. And the biggest problem? The lack of updates. Whether it are those customization that hold off updates, lack of motivation (planned obsolescence anyone?) or outright incompetence from the vendors. Unless you happen to have a device supported by Cyanogenmod, that is. The missing Android updates even from biggest manufactures (including Motorola, HTC, …) makes Android extreme unattractive to buy into.

Google is not evil?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Hahaha, that we are not lying on the floor laughing (lol)! Now that the KHTML fork known as WebKit is so successful and the developer world has finally broken into the former Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer monopoly Google has nothing better to do than fork it? What stupid nonsense waste of human time, developer resources and so on, … in this day of age where most economies in most countries struggle with bigger challenges than reimplementing competing HTML engines and features over and over again, … They want to make it so much better? Why does it feel so much smother and snappier on iOS than it does on Android (pinch zooming, page rendering, scrolling while loading, …)?

Here is an amazing translation to plain English.

I always was skeptical to data collecting and mostly only ad selling Google, but from now on I will be even more, and avoid all of them like the plague.