How to perfect the iPad.

The answer is simple, the processor that Apple has chosen for their new iPad is called the A4 which is really just a ARM Cortex A9 with an integrate GPU. And guess what, there is another OS, a better OS, that is both touch integrated and ported to the Cortex / ARM cpu, Maemo which you can test for yourself on the at maemo.org or handle as the Nokia N900 pocket computer cum Smartphone. This OS can do everything that the iPhone OS can’t do like Multi-task and Flash. Sounds like a perfect iPad, just jail-break the iPad and install Maemo.

Apple’s iPad, misses the mark.

Since I didn’t bother to comment on what is now a fan frenzy event and the flurry of rumors preceding it, the Apple iPad has now appeared, and I will comment, Meh! Everything that the pad does, I can do with the Nokia N900, for less money, and I can carry mine anywhere. I even have a real, though small keyboard. Mind you I like the new screen, it’s nicely sized, but I have a MacBook with a bigger better screen. Is there really a gap to fill, sure sort of, and this can fill it, maybe, but will it be the next big ‘thing’ NO!

UPDATE: The spec indicates only 720p Video playback, and that’s probably due to the performance of the Apple CPU, putting it into Intel Atom processor range as far a horsepower goes.

Internet Privacy myths

One of the enduring myths of the internet is the one involving privacy. This article on CNN titled U.S. enables Chinese hacking of Google takes umbrage at the notion that everyones email is secret and private. And while this myth might comfort many, the truth is that email was NEVER private. Every email host, every email relay was able, and in fact, completely open to reading, scanning and snooping, by man-in-the-middle processes and furthermore always has been since the beginning of the internet. And even if everyone was using https or ssh with their email clients while connected to their mail server, it did not encrypt the contents of the email. It may have minimized the likelihood of it being read in the data stream, but unless you were in the habit of encrypting your email with PGP or some other cypher your email and hence your ‘Privacy’ is negligible, hence, the privacy myth.

And while on the CNN article the discussions brought up the same old saw that governments HAD to have backdoors to snoop on email communications to prevent crime and terrorism without the concern that at no time has it proved itself in practice. Anyone wishing to sent communication, and have it stay private can do so, even in the face of a dedicated snoop. Anyone who had even browsed an encryption textbook can create a completely uncrackable code, and I mean uncrackable by anyone, by any means and present their messages in plain text in emails. Hacking them by any government is merely security theater and fundamentally has NO value.

If you seek ‘privacy’ stop sending anything through the internet unless it is encrypted by at least PGP (if not something more substantial). The only thing Google has lost in this privacy issue is the trust of their users to protect their email ‘publications’ on the internet. Now everyone will know that they have another recipient to all their emails, in other words, all the other governments, hackers, scammers and spammers in the internet.

Baidu Spider is MIA

Is it me, or my sites, that the www.baidu.com spider is no longer scanning? I have normally been scanned several times a day by that Chinese Search engine, but they all stopped yesterday? Perhaps a crackdown? Who knows, but there is a missing element now in the internet.

A reason to NOT iPhone

I’m waiting for the first mass exploitation virus for the iPhone to arrive. With the iPhone ecosystem reaching critical mass, there can’t be much left in the way of roadblocks to prevent this. There has already been exploits that targeted ‘jail broken’ iPhones, more likely to have been created by Apple, or a fan of Apple DRM. Therefore the likelihood that a more potent virus will emerge is very high. The likely suspect, is one that exploits the ‘closed’ nature of the device, where the victim iPhone will show no indication of an infection.

Not that my chosen device is not subject to the same attacks, the Nokia N900 is also a target, but its just not as big a target as the iPhone. More or less the same argument that has been used to justify the lack of viruses on the Mac platform. I have a Mac also, and I feel safe, but not because it’s immune to viruses, it HAS been less targeted, and it has been ACTIVELY defended.

Learning the Nokia N900

Another day, another experience. Yesterday I managed to strech the Nokia N900 battery to more than a full day. This isn’t a miracle, it only takes turning off all the cute, but ultimatly useless eyecandy widgits. Not that they don’t look nice, they just spin up the CPU a lot.

However, today was much busier, lots of SMS, lots of Skype IM, calls and what not. I tried the GPS and bought a car charger. I then managed to download the new firmware update. I haven’t really see a much of a difference. But I have not tested, or timed everything yet either.

The update did not install cleanly, twice it claimed to not have enough memory. So I removed some of the apps I had been playing with, but did not intend to keep anyway. And it managed to install, but it did not manage to fix the media player that still does not play any video. I chock this up to a corrupt or missing media library.

Still, I am blogging from it, and I’m learning new things. It’s functional and feature rich, what more can you ask for?

Vodafone Speedtest with Nokia N900




Vodafone speedtest

Originally uploaded by Branedy

The first time I tried this I was getting better than 1.2Mbs but I forgot how to do a print screen, this is what I got the second time, too bad that it showed so much inconsistency, but typical from what I’ve heard from other Vodafone users. It’s interesting that the upload speed is faster that my Eircom DSL line by almost 2X while the Eircom downlink was rated a 2.7Mbs.

A Neighborhood solution to water supply

If you live close enough to your neighbor (most semi-detached homes would fit this description) you can attach your external faucet, from your non functioning household water, to that of your neighbors FUNCTIONING water supply with a common garden hose and By opening the valves on the waterless house, and then the working house. The house with the functioning water supply will supply the non functioning house.

You might call this an Irish solution to an Irish problem. And since we are not currently paying for the water, we aren’t stealing water, just loaning it.

The Nokia N900 in use, a perspective.

I’ve had my Nokia N900 for almost 48 hours, and while I’ve have a few frustrations, I’m equally satisfied with the product. And so to keep it geeky and simple:

  • I’ve logged into the device (not really a phone) with SSH from my desktop. And it just looks like a standard Linux system.
  • I’ve logged in to my Opensolaris from the device shell (X Terminal) with SSH and that works like normal.
  • I’ve connect to the VLC server on my server, with VLC, from the device, and while the navigation of the screen size differences will be ‘fun’, it works as expected
  • I’ve Blogged from the device using MaStory.
  • I’ve sent SMS and received SMS’s, I received Phone calls. (gee)
  • I’ve been fetching emails, full html support (must turn off images)
  • I’ve found my location with GPS.
  • I’ve loaded up some songs, and they sound great with the stereo speakers
  • I’ve listened to internet radio, that works great.
  • I’ve used the keyboard, and I’m getting faster the more I use it.
  • I’ve browsed the internet, and it’s amazing, although my blog identifies it as a PDA (must fix that)
  • I’ve used the device to diagnose a neighbors laptop WiFi connection
  • I’ve taken a photo, not so great on the first try, no image stabilization, but relatively sharp
  • I’ve managed to post a photo to my Flickr account.
  • I’ve synced up my calendar and contacts with my Nokia 6300 backup using the Nokia PC suite (as OVI suite does not work)
  • I’ve connected to AOL and Yahoo IM with the Pidgin application.

However there is another list, of frustrations;

  • Battery life really sucks, mostly because I’ve had everything turned on (default) and have not found all the places to ‘tune’ them to better setting.
  • I can NOT get the Twitter application Mauku to connect to Twitter
  • I can NOT get the weather with OMWeather it won’t connect
  • I couldn’t get the MaxRoam SIM to dial anyone, though I could SMS
  • Some Apps from the App Manager WILL NOT DOWNLOAD no matter what I do, and there no indication about why they won’t download
  • I can’t get the FaceBook application which came pre-installed, to actually install, or function. It’s the same with several of the ‘pre-installed’ apps, they just don’t work without being ‘installed’ and they won’t install.

I am currently using a Vodafone Pay-as-you-Go SIM and it does indicate that I am connected with 3G. I have NOT tested it for dataroaming, or performance. The MaxRoam SIM did indicate that I was connected to a 3.5G O2 network But like I mentioned, I couldn’t call anyone, only SMS. I assume that it was my ignorance of setting for the MaxRoam SIM.

As for the phone itself, I like it, it’s a bit heaver than I thought, but a great deal smaller, it is not really any wider or taller than a Samsung Tocco Lite, but it’s almost twice as thick.

The keyboard is very small and not really thumb friendly, I started out using my fingernails to type. Now I can feel the contours of the keys, it sped up my typing a bit. I have a clear snap on case I bought from Amazon a month ago, but the screen section obscures the upper row on the keyboard, so I don’t have it on, so just the back is attached.

The resistive touchscreen is very sensitive. I have a Palm T/X and I know! It is nothing like the resistive screens of the past. There is virtual NO give to the surface, and while you can tell that it is ‘softer’ than a capacitive touchscreen, it has a great deal more precision. Just try and draw something in the ‘sketch’ app or better yet, the XJournal application.

Overall I could say that it’s a keeper, a Geeky keeper, and looks like it will be a learned love. It does do what I need it to do, be a computed device, with a phone in it.

I’m sure there will be other revelations, but I may be too busy playing with my new toy.

UPDATE : I’ve managed to get the missing FaceBook App to install and Mauku and OMWeather are working after I changed some of the connection setting on device to fixed ip addresses on my WiFi router.

Social platform evolution

In the natural world, evolution is normally a response to changes in the environment which forces adaption to the change by natural selection. If the change event is dramatic or violent life forms can become extinct before adaptive evolution can occur.

But what happens in Social Environments, Platforms, particularly virtual Social platforms. Does change and evolution happen gradually or catastrophically? And what happens to the inhabitants of that environment? Do they all migrate to the next ‘BIG THING’?

Any suggestions?