Archive for June, 2013

What are the PC vendors thinking?

Friday, June 21st, 2013

For some excessive amount of time -as I do not find the last half decade MacBooks perfect- I am looking for a PC laptop. The Samsung Series 9 came pretty close, just that the max 4GB RAM of the 13″ is a little little for a software engineer, …

Yesterday Sammy announced the Haswell based, latest Intel Core generation refresh, and I unfortunately have to say: What the heck?

They managed to ruin the machine for the most part: Gorilla glass touch panel!?!?! Thanks, but no thanks! Most of all I do not want to look in a mirror the whole day. This just hurts the eyes, seriously. Not to mention office lights or sunlight. Thank you very much. Of course the touch panel can mostly be ignored. I mean: Who would want to raise the arm the whole day, and even smearing the screen with natural skin oil??? Definitely not me. I could ignore the touch panel - if there would not be this glossy gorilla glass cover, ieek. And then the screen resolution. Yeah, Retina sounds awesome in product advertisements. But fact is, only Mac OS X scales the UI reliably. Such a display is no fun on Windows, nor Linux. All non-top notch Windows Apps will have scaling issues. Sometimes even the top notch ones, … :-/ And obviously all the added mega pixels just burn vital battery life away, …

So then let’s come to the ATIV Book 9 Lite (why continue to use an established, simple brand name like Series 9, when you can ruin it with something like ATIV -what the heck?- Book, yeah, well, ok …). Finally a nice and light AMD Ultrathin. Awesome! We need more of that!! I would get it immediately, if not, … 1366×768 resolution seriously? Come on, after 3200×1800 at the premium, you want to sell us last millennium 1366×768? How crazy is that? One excessive high-res, the other below the bare minimum. And of course only 4GB of RAM, … when you cripple it, make sure you cripple it for real, … The brave new world of soldered on the board, no user swaps SO-DIMM, …

What are those product managers thinking? Really??

PS: And btw. classic: Other companies (like Apple) would have pretty product pages available on their website at launch time, … Samsung? Nada. Not listed yet (on the US, or German) website; at the time of writing. Yeah, why list the just announced flagship product so people can take a look, and order, …?

These days you really wonder, …

Server side input validation

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

For some time now we had some simple email registration for the free trial of some of our software products. We are aware that some users do not like it, however, we are a small company and also need to think about some trial follow up reminder, questionnaire, etc.

Of course most annoying for us are invalid email addresses, causing bouncing error messages, blocking our email server, support accounts or a combination of those, … So after some week of too many delivery errors we ended up adding some basic input validation. However due to the complex nature of HTML, Javascript, and XML-RPC based AJAX or variants thereof we only, quickly did so in the JavaScript. Just some simply straight forward checking. You certainly get the idea. For normal customers that worked great.

Guess what happened next? Java spam bots eventually found the form and started feeding the usual v1a6ra, and other related medical, drug and other spam thru the form. Of course they where usually sending some random email address for their spam, resulting in the same, and in the end even higher amount of email delivery errors than we wanted to prevent initially.

After too long time the pain became too big. Yesterday we finally moved the input validation into our server backend as it should be. Never trust the client, always validate 100% on your final server side. Of course one shoudl do so from the beginning. Just that Web 2.0, with HTML, Javascript and all the surrounding “technologies” are such a complex, error prone, and not so easy to debug mess, that this is unfortunately a rather complex affair, …

Let’s see what annoying trickery comes next to that simple form, … ;-)

Modern smartphone battery drain

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

For some time I was wondering how suspend time on my iPhone 5 can be so low. Having owned the very first gen iPhone, the 3G, the 4 and now the 5 the current suspend and talk time did not really feel like progress. Au contraire: It felt short :-/

Historically I never had much Apps. After all the initial iPhone was about doing mobile web right, it even did not allow third party Apps. Even when third party Apps where allowed, and appear I did not have many of them. After all I wanted mobile Web, email, and such, …

However over time some Apps accumulated, and of course nowadays people continuously ask to like some Facebook upload and the like. So I had this infamous opened every other day. What I did not realize was, how much hiccup it is doing in the background! After quitting it completely, via the taskbar the battery life actually went up from barely 24h standby and a little use over the day to nearly 48h standby with occasional regular office day use.

If that is not an improvement! Of course it is still fare away from regular, old fashioned mobile’s - but those also did less, had less fancy, smaller screens, etc. Most of all it shows how bad some mobile Apps are written!