Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First Look at iOS4

Updated 17 Jul 2010: Added point about plugging in the power

Finally iOS4.0 is ready for download. I did a quick check on some of the new features and I can say that I'm quite impressed. The upgrade was seamless but please remember to charge your iPhone before upgrading the OS as there will be a period of time where it will be upgrading the OS using the battery power.

Below is the summary of some of the key new features of iOS4:
  1. Multi-tasking:

    Multi-tasking support for apps such as audio, VoIP and location monitoring apps in the background. Double tapping on the home button will activate the multi-tasking bar at the bottom. Swiping to the right in the multi-tasking bar will allow you to activate the iPod apps and control. There's also a new icon to lock the orientation of your iPhone to portrait mode. This can be activated in all apps.

    Multi-tasking is automatically activated once you exit the app using the Home button. To remove the app from the background, double tap on the home button to activate the multi-tasking bar, tap and hold on any of the app icon in the multi-tasking bar until you see a red minimize button on all the icons. Tapping on the minimize button will remove that app from the background.

  2. Wallpaper for Home Screen:

    Finally Apple has enabled the feature to allow us to change the background of the Home Screen (after unlock). Just tap on Settings > Wallpaper > Tap on the 2 images > Wallpaper > Tap on any of the wallpaper > Set > Set Home Screen.

  3. Home Screen Folders:

    For both the iPhone and iTunes interface, just drag the icon (Tap on any icon and hold it there) on top of another icon and a folder will be created. You will be prompted to name the folder. That's it. I personally find it easier to create the folders using iTunes.

  4. Camera:

    You're now able to zoom in (5x) using the default camera app.

  5. Auto Spell Check:

    If you have a word that was misspelled, a red underline will be indicated on that word. Just Select the word and tap on Replace.... You will be prompted some words that are the closest match to your misspelled word.

  6. You're able to Search your text messages now in the Messages app and the main search in your Home screen.

  7. You're now able to group your messages by subject thread. This is enabled by default once you've upgraded to iOS4

  8. The iPhone will now be able to remember your choice of whether you allow the app to access your current location. This choice can be modified by tapping on Settings > Location Services. Whenever your location is being accessed, a small little icon will appear briefly at the top bar near your battery indicator.

  9. Cellular Data:

    You can now disable the Cellular Data transfer directly for your iPhone (no more using airplane mode) by going to Settings > General > Network. You will still be able to receive phone calls when your Cellular Data transfer is disabled. Useful when you're overseas.

  10. You're now able to create notes directly on the mail servers that you've configured in your iPhone. On your Notes app, just tap on Accounts on the top left-hand corner. Select your mail account and you can start creating notes in the account that you've selected. You will be able to access the notes when you login to your webmail.
  11. You can not shutdown your iPhone while being plugged. Likewise, when your iPhone has shut down and you plug in the power, the iPhone will start up (previously it only starts up after some time).

    Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Do not create obstacles when none really exist

    I quote from Pierce Vincent Eckhart:

    When I was a Boy Scout, we played a game when new Scouts joined the troop. We lined up chairs in a pattern, creating an obstacle course through which the new Scouts, blindfolded, were supposed to maneuver. The Scoutmaster gave them a few moments to study the pattern before our adventure began. But as soon as the victims were blindfolded, the rest of us quietly removed the chairs. I think life is like this game. Perhaps we spend our lives avoiding obstacles we have created for ourselves and in reality exist only in our minds. We're afraid to apply for that job, take violin lessons, learn a foreign language, call an old friend, write our Congressman - whatever it is that we would really like to do but don't because of personal obstacles. Don't avoid any chairs until you run smack into one. And if you do, at least you'll have a place to sit down.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Why Flash Floods? Look at the Drains.

    The flash flood at Orchard Road is not really a surprise to those who observe the drains in our environment. Why do I say that? Our drainage systems are all inter-connected. If a section of our drains are choked, the drainage will definitely be affected as the water cannot be routed.

    I have came across the big drain near Toa Payoh Swimming Pool complex. The big drain is always choked. Someone I believe will clear the drain maybe once a month but within a week, it will be choked again. It seems that someone has been throwing things into the drain in the middle of the night. There was once when the whole rubbish bin was thrown inside the drain.

    Who is doing it? Why are they doing it? Are throwing things down into the drains in the middle of the night so "exciting"? This is one area where I think CCTV is of use. Flim them and slap those people with a big fine and make sure they feel hurt. Ignorance is not an excuse. Try to tell that to those poor business owners that have to spend 5 figure sums to repair the damage.

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Words of Wisdom from CommunicAsia (3G vs 4G)

    One of the panelists, Peter Wang, chief engineer at Huawei Technologies, said operators can stretch their network by maximizing HSPA spectral efficiency to close the gap with LTE's bandwidth capacity. This can be done by increasing the number of base station units or upgrading the units' software, Wang said.

    I'm sure the 3 telcos in Singapore will just ignore the above line in bold. The iPhone is a very good indicator on the true 2G/3G coverage of Singapore. My iPhone keeps getting lost signals even though I'm on 2G. 3G is even worse. If you're unable to get reliable signals in a certain location, it's a clear indication of insufficient base station units. The 3G signals are also not even hitting its 7.2Mbps speed, and I'm not even talking about the 14 / 42 / 84 Mbps based on the latest HSPA+ release.

    I don't understand the urgency to go to 4G when the 3G infrastructure is not even up to mark! I've written about this some time back here. But do the telcos care? Judging from my experience on the 3G network, I guess not.

    Lack of Respect for IT Staff

    Seems like it's a trend everywhere and it's not restricted to Singapore. There is a lack of respect for IT staff and as a result, many people are leaving the line. Every little problem, be it IT related or politics related, IT staff usually gets the brunt of it.

    For example, I find it quite interesting that when a user clicks on the wrong button that as a result execute a wrong function, the blame goes to the IT department that designed the system. Funny thing is that other users have absolutely no problems with using the system. Try to use this analogy on a car. If a person steps on the accelerator instead of the brake and caused an accident, whose fault is it?

    IT jobs are one of the few jobs in the world where it is rare for people to acknowledge you if everything is working fine. As a result, we rarely get a sense of achievement and many are leaving the line. However, some employers are not really worrying. One of the reasons is that they have a misconception that as long as you know how to use a computer, you can do IT work. That is not exactly true. Just mention black box and white box testing and I guess most people will give you a blank look.

    I've seen many such examples of non-IT trained staff heading IT projects. One of the examples I feel is the iToday app in the Apple AppStore (personal opinion). If a person trained in IT is testing the application, they would detect that there is a memory problem and the app will crash if the user reads too many news items. The bug is so obvious, at least to a person trained in IT.

    Anyway to resolve this brain drain? As long as employers do not recognise that it pays to have trained IT staff managing their systems, more and more IT staff will leave the line. Who wants to work in a job that bosses/customers do not acknowledge a job well done? We are all human.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Why not make use of the thermal power within the data centre?

    Have been reading an article encouraging data centres to use renewable energy to power the data centres. However, I for one think that data centres should make use of the thermal power within the data centre to use it to power most of the power used by the data centre.

    Logically, it makes sense. All servers emit lots of heat and that's why data centres require quite a bit of cooling. Why don't anyone find a way to channel the thermal heat in the servers to generate energy which can be used to power the cooling? The lesser heat needed, the lesser cooling that is needed. The input and output is directly related.

    Oh well...

    Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Looks like all those secondary school knowledge does have some use after all

    Just yesterday I finally realised that there are some uses for our secondary school education. My new washing machine somehow got stuck with some error code that indicates that it has problems draining the water while rinsing.

    The solution? The drainage pipe was positioned in such a way that the water does not flow out properly. I had to re-position it such that the water will be able to flow out. Had to apply a bit of physics and ensure that the gradient allows the water to be drained.

    Finally some use of physics. :p

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    What is Excellence?

    I quote from Aristotle:

    Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    Watching World Cup 2010 for free

    World Cup fever has just started as of yesterday. You can actually watch it without going through Singtel or Starhub. There are actually 3 ways that you can catch the World Cup 2010:
    1. Get an analog TV USB Tuner and an analog TV tuner and tune to RTM1 or RCT1.

    2. Catch it at the following community clubs (Refer to PA Facebook site):

      • Braddell Heights Community Club
      • Cheng San Community Club
      • Chong Pang Community Club
      • Choa Chu Kang Community Club
      • Clementi Community Centre
      • Eunos Community Club
      • Fengshan Community Club
      • Gek Poh Ville Community Club
      • Jurong Spring Community Club
      • Mountbatten Community Club
      • Sengkang Community Club
      • Tampines Central Community Club
      • Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre
      • Toa Payoh East Community Club
      • Woodlands Community Club
      • Zhenghua Community Club

    3.  Catch it at the following MacDonald outlets (Refer to Mac website)

      • NorthPoint
      • Sun Plaza
      • Fajar
      • AMK Ave 3
      • AMK Ave 10
      • AMK Ave 4
      • Bendemeer
      • Hougang
      • Hougang 8
      • Sengkang Rivervale
      • Serangoon Ave 3
      • Toa Payoh Central
      • Toa Payoh Lorong 1
      • Queensway
      • Shaw Centre
      • Bedok Interchange
      • Bedok North
      • Bedok Reservoir
      • Downtown East
      • East Coast Parkway
      • Geylang East Central
      • Kallang
      • Tampines Interchange
      • Tampines Neighbourhood 3
      • Tampines West CC
      • Bukit Batok
      • Choa Chu Kang CC
      • Farrer Road
      • Jurong Bowl
      • Jurong East 24
      • Pioneer Mall
      • West Coast Park


    iPad Security Breach? Like real

    Sometimes I really wonder if any editors vet the subject headers of articles before allowing them to go to print. The article information is clearly not about any breach in security for the iPad but it's a breach of security at AT&T. It has nothing to do with the iPad security, at least for that article.

    Yes, the header sure is catchy but do note that some people only glance at the subject headers and may not read the article within. Doing this will result in people thinking that there is a security problem in the iPad, which is clearly not the case if you have read the full article.

    Do a simple search and you can find many people using the "iPad Security Breach" subject header. The subject header should be "AT&T Security Breach! iPad owners revealed". But wait... That's not sexy enough?

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Places of Interests Near Circle Line MRT Stations

    Realised that SMRT has actually listed down some of the interesting places near the Circle Line MRT stations at their website. Below are some of the places of interests near the Circle Line MRT line which I have consolidated as of today. Hope it may be of help.

    Dhoby Ghaut
    • Plaza Singapura
    • The Cathay
    • Park Mall
    • Istana
    • Park Lane Shopping Mall
    • Peace Centre
    • Pomo Paradiz
    • Singapore Shopping Centre
    • The Atrium @ Orchard
    • YMCA
    Bras Basah
    • National Museum of Singapore
    • Singapore Art Museum
    • Singapore Management University (SMU)
    • Bras Basah Complex
    • Fortune Centre
    • National Library
    • Paradiz Centre
    • Parklane Shopping Mall
    • Peranakan Museum
    • Raffles Hotel shopping Arcade
    • Singapore Philatelic Museum
    • Stamford House
    • Esplanade
    • War Memorial Park
    • City Link Mall
    • One Raffles Link
    • Raffles City Shopping Centre
    • Marina Square
    • Suntec City
    • F1 Pit
    • Millennia Walk
    • Millennia Tower
    • Centennial Tower
    • Suntec City
    • The Ritz-Carlton Millennia
    • Singapore Flyer
    • F1 Pit
    • The Float@Marina Bay
    Nicoll Highway
    • The Concourse
    • Golden Mile Complex
    • Park Royal on Beach Road
    • Arab Street
    • Golden Mile Food Centre
    • Golden Mile Tower
    • The Plaza & Furniture Mall
    • Sports Hub
    • Singapore Indoor Stadium
    • Kallang Theatre
    • Kallang Leisure Park
    • National Stadium
    • Mountbatten estates
    • Singapore Association for the Deaf
    • Vocational School for the Handicapped
    • Kallang Squash & Tennis Centre
    • Singapore Netball Centre
    • Singapore Sports Council
    • Broadrick Secondary School
    • Dakota Crescent estate
    • Old Airport Road Food Centre
    Paya Lebar
    • Singapore Post Centre
    • Malay Village
    • Tanjong Katong Complex
    • Joo Chiat Complex
    • City Plaza
    • MacPherson Gardens estate
    • ITE College Central (MacPherson)
    Tai Seng
    • Tai Seng industrial estates
    • Bishan Park
    • Bishan Stadium
    • Junction 8

    Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    iPhone 4 Updates

    WWDC 2010 was recently held in San Francisco. Most anticipated product to be launched is of course the iPhone 4. Some quick information on the upcoming phone, also known as the iPhone 4G or iPhone 4.0.

    The iPhone 3GS will be available in 8GB while the iPhone 4 will be available in 16GB and 32GB. In my previous post here, I would have thought that they will be introducing the 64GB model for the iPhone 4. The reason why they did not do so may be due to cost though.

    The iPhone OS 4.0 that is powering the iPhone 4 will be renamed to iOS 4.0 as anticipated because the iPhone OS is now running on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. iOS 4.0 will be released to all devices free (except for iPod Touch 1st generation and iPad) on 21 June 2010.

    When will it reach Singapore? The iPhone 4 will launch on 24 June 2010 across the UK, France, Germany, Japan and in the US. Pre-orders will begin on 15 June 2010. By July, iPhone 4 will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Exact dates are not available and the telcos are keeping mum.

    Below are some of the key features of the iOS 4.0
    • Multi-tasking (double tapping on the Home button)
    • Folders for Apps (Dragging the app icons into a specific location)
    • Changing of wallpaper (no more black backgrounds)
    • Unified mailbox for all the e-mail accounts
    • Ability to change your default search engine to Yahoo or Bing (Google is still the default)
    • iBooks app
    Below are some of the key features of the iPhone 4 hardware:
    • Apple A4 chip
    • Micro SIM card (Need a new SIM card from the Telco)
    • 802.11n Wireless
    • 7 hours 3G talktime
    • 14 hours 2G talktime
    • Up to 300 hours of standby time
    • Up to 6 hours on 3G surfing
    • Up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi 
    • 960 x 640 pixel resolution
    • 800:1 contrast ratio
    • HD Video recording (720p) - Tap to focus video
    • 5 MP camera with LED flash
    • Front facing camera
    • Facetime (video calls between iPhone 4 devices - Refer to the video below)

    Will I change to a iPhone 4? Not likely unless the telcos come out with a compelling reason for me to change. I'll still be able to get some of the features on my present iPhone. But still... iPhone 4 is a beauty. Take a look below:

    Beware of apps that are not from a reputable source

    It seems that mobile technology has finally caught the eyes of the malware writers. Malware was found lurking in some of the Windows Mobile Apps that makes calls to premium-rate numbers across the globe, racking up expensive bills to the unfortunate owners.

    Will this be restricted to only Windows Mobile Apps? Of course not. This danger will always be there if the apps that you've downloaded to your mobile phone is not from a reputable source or the source does not do a check on the apps to ensure that there are no malwares hidden within.

    I believe with this incident, people may finally understand why Apple makes the additional effort to QC all apps before it hits the AppStore. It also helps that there are no official APIs to allow the app to make automatic dial-ups without any prompt from the user (based on my memory). This doesn't apply to JB phones though.

    Remember... Things are usually done for a reason.

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Is it really the only truth?

    I quote from Orville Wright:

    If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance

    I've always treated studies as a guideline to doing certain things and I could never understand why some people can take whatever that's written / spoken as the only truth. Ever heard of people saying "It's like this because so and so said so"?

    Do not look at things at face value and look a little deeper if you have the time. You may discover something that no one has realised. That's how people "invent".

    Rising Trend of Flash Mobs in Singapore. But...

    Looks like Singapore is finally catching on the wave of using Flash Mobs to catch attention and raise awareness. YOG has been using Flash Mobs these past few months to raise awareness, the most recent being yesterday at Orchard Road. Found a video at Youtube on what happened at Orchard:

    Let's say that I'm somehow a little disappointed on what I've seen. Video taking aside, I've always thought that the highlight of a Flash Mob is not knowing what to expect. The dance should also be simple enough in some parts so that the public can maybe even join in if they want to.

    In my personal opinion, I would prefer that the dance steps for the Flash Mob at Orchard to be simpler, and there should be more elements of surprise, in relation to YOG of course. I've still no idea what's the purpose of a whole sea of orange people at the back that weren't doing much. That space at the back could be better used to insert elements of surprise in the flash mob.

    Below is a Youtube Flash Mob video that I've seen some time back. This in my opinion is quite a successful Flash Mob. It is a promotion stunt for a Belgian television program, where they are looking for someone to play the leading role, in the musical of "The Sound of Music".

    Now this is what I call a Flash Mob. :)

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    WebOS Powered HP Devices?

    CEO of HP has been commenting that HP did not buy Palm for it's handset business, but more for WebOS. He envisioned WebOS to be powering all HP small devices. Few analysts believed him when he made that comment. They should take note though because what he is saying is not really out of this world.

    Using HP printers as an example, WebOS powered printers could be something that the enterprise customers are looking at. There may be a server managing all your WebOS enabled printers. Printing a document may be as simple as sending an e-mail to an email address and the server will be able to identify who is the person printing, and send it to the printer nearest to you. If the printer is not functional, it can even send you an email to tell you the print out has been routed to the next nearest printer. Remotely, you may even be able to print a document to a printer of your choice and call up the office to pick up that document for the required signatories for example. From the printer, you can even maybe surf to a website of your choice using an on-screen keyboard and print out the required document directly. The server may also be able to manage all the status levels of all the printers and send alerts if the printer is out of service, or when ink levels are low.

    WebOS powered small devices? Look no further than the iPad. There is no news on the HP Slate since HP bought over WebOS. They are most likely re-thinking on the Slate and will most probably resurrect it using WebOS.

    There are a lot of things you can do with the WebOS. You just need to look deeper, and do things a little differently.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Nearby construction site causing my house temperature to spike up

    There has been some construction going on near my area and I find that my house is generally quite warm throughout the day/night. The funny thing is upon checking with some of my friends living around the same area (within 1-2km), I was the only one having this problem.

    I'm not trained in building construction but if I remember my secondary school lessons, concrete, brick and stone have been used in the building industry for their ability to absorb solar heat and slowly release it. It has been used in the winter countries to retain heat within the house.

    Therefore, my reasoning is that as the painting has not been done for the new development, the concrete has been absorbing the heat and slowly releasing it, thereby causing my house's temperature to spike up as it is quite near the site. Painting in a way reflects the heat so that it is not absorbed by the concrete.

    Did I guess correctly? Hmm...

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Why is Flash a problem in mobile phones

    Everyone has been wondering why Apple refuses to put flash into their products. Personally, I believe it's the design of the flash plug-in that is holding Apple back.

    As far as I understand, Adobe taps onto the operating system back-end in order to execute flash. That means that it needs to plant itself within the operating system before it can be installed. This is evident when you try to install Adobe Flash from the browser. You'll need administrator rights before you're able to install/update the flash player.

    In my opinion, that would also be the reason why flash is pushed down to the Android OS via v2.2. The reason is because the Flash player becomes part of the Android OS (For Google's sake, I hope I'm wrong). Translated, any updates to the Flash player will result in a new Android OS version. I really hope that that isn't the case because if this is so, Android will soon have a lot of versions because Adobe Flash security updates are quite common. In fact among the vulnerabilities discovered in 2009 for web browser plug-ins, a vulnerability affecting both Adobe Reader and Flash Player was the second most attacked vulnerability.

    If I'm a person that has created the product, I won't want to release a new version every time someone's else product (that was in-built into mine) has a security vulnerability. To me, that's bad press and gives a bad name to my product. I believe that's the number one reason why Flash will never be allowed onto the Apple platform. Apple has no control over the quality and would not want to risk pushing down updates to the iPhone OS just because Adobe has patched another security vulnerability (personal opinion).

    That is unless Apple buys over Adobe. Then that's a different story altogether.

    True Education

    I quote from Martin Luther King, Jr:

    The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.

    I believe schools are still churning out students who are exams smart and where memorization is a must, not to mention doing 10 year series. Does that help us to have intelligence plus character? Good memory does not equate to intelligence. It's only part of it. Character building is also usually imparted through the teachers themselves. I do not believe that it can be taught or forced upon.

    Is being a good teacher difficult? Absolutely.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Bosses take note: Short naps increase productivity

    Finally someone has proven that short naps during the day does improve your memory performance. According to the Journal of Sleep Research back in 2007, the results of their studies indicate that ultra short period of sleep is sufficient enough to enhance memory processing. Personally to me, improvement of my memory equates to increase productivity.

    You can refer to the article here for more information. Bosses please take note. When someone is napping, the person might be hard at work trying to find a solution to the problem. :)
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...