sâmbătă, 5 martie 2011

Hatin' on Givin' Flowers

I've had this question in my mind for quite a while: what's with people and giving flowers??

Personally I hate doing that. I hate flowers, I hate haggling with the sellers, I hate having to look for one good flower among 100 bad ones. Are gifts so old fashioned that they should be replaced by flowers?

It's bad anyways from a significant number of POVs. First it's the obvious one: those flowers that you buy were pulled from their roots, thus killed. Is it better to see them slowly dying visibly in your house rather than blooming on the fields?

Second, suppose you find a great deal for some flowers, they're looking great, you bought them and gave them to the person you wanted to. But what if they have a longer way till home? Till then, those beautiful flowers will be well and truly withered. You mean you wasted your money for what's to quickly become a mere filling for the trash can?

And third, if that person is supposed to do some other things till they get home, they will surely be quite limited in movement by the flowers they must hold. Surely it's an OK idea?

So yes, those are a few reasons why I hate giving flowers. Sorry girls, you're only getting good ole presents from me! (Sure, on certain occasions even I have to agree a flower can do good, but only sometimes.)

vineri, 4 februarie 2011

Smartphones: Do you really need one?

In the past couple of days, I've had a few experiences (upon which I will not provide details, since readers will figure out what they are about as soon as they're finished reading this post) that reminded me of this pet peeve of mine: people with smartphones that do not know how to use them.

Imagine the following: you want to get a new phone. You've got plenty of money, or you've found a smokin' offer at your carrier, and you're ready to go buy it. You go buy the phone, then start playing around with it. But then you find you don't know how to install a new theme, or how to disable push mail.

Well, that's all because you chose a smartphone. So as to be clear for everyone, a smartphone is a cellphone running an operating system (either iOS, in which case it's an iPhone, Android, Symbian, in which case it's most likely a Nokia, Windows Mobile/Windows Phone 7, or Blackberry OS). Since it's an OS that they are running, they're obviously not intended for casual users, who only use their phones for talking, texting, or taking pics, and who occasionally install new themes or games. And now I will expand my point of view.

Today, people in the search for a new phone have quite a few choices. In my opinion, unfortunately though, the well known phone brands have chosen to release fashion models or budget phones running OS'es. This is quite a bad choice, as it increases the price for more powerful terminals (the way I see it, if there were less phones running, say, Android, maybe the prices would be lower). Understandably, consumers looking for such models do not care for push email or complex applications and what not. And certain OS'es just make simpler tasks more difficult for the average Joe.

Let's take Symbian, for example. An "outdated" OS, which struggles to face its competitors, Android, iOS, BB OS and most recently, WP7. Nokia has started to release a great many budget models which would supposedly appeal to casual users or teens. But how can an operating system storing a link to the File Manager in the Office menu or needing additional settings in order to install older apps or themes be intended to non-computer-savvy people? Yes, the menu in Symbian OS isn't as intuitive as on "dumbphones" (phones not running one of these advanced OS'es), and, since themes are treated just like apps, having an installer and a security certificate, some settings must be modified when installing older themes or apps, or else the phone rejects them. Definitely NOT a good choice for normal (non-business) users.

Let's talk about iOS now. iOS is only used on the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The iPhone has become something of a symbol of wealth. If you have an iPhone, you must be rich, because you have had to pay for it (you or your parents), and then you have to pay the monthly bill which can get pretty costly if you're using a data contract. However many people own an iPhone, and that's because the software is much more intuitive, almost anyone can understand it. People just take it the way it is, pay for the few apps or games that they install and have absolutely no problem with it. More computer-oriented users go ahead and jailbreak it to achieve the device's full potential, but that's another story. But yes, even if an iPhone is expensive, it's the right choice if you don't care much about gadgets but you do want to spend a lot of money on a phone.

And now let's tackle Android. In the few years it has been on the market, Android OS has garnered quite a large fanbase. It is, just like iOS, and maybe even more, intuitive and can be used by anyone out of the box. Sure, there are a bit more things to it, such as homescreen widgets and additional settings, but it's doing a great job at attracting casual users. Again, those who want more from their Android-powered smartphone go ahead and root it, but for the rest, it's fine as it is. However (and I'm not meaning to hate on Android, in fact I prefer it over iOS), it's still a bit difficult to the average user, who seeks primarily a good phone, then a music player, or a device to play some games or surf the Web on. Apart from certain exceptions, prices for such smartphones are just a bit lower than that of the iPhone though (the exceptions being closer to a dumbphone).

Windows Phone 7? Clearly meant for business. For people who need Exchange connections to mail servers or VPNs. And the price tags support this statement.

And then there is Blackberry OS. The Blackberry is something of a status icon as well. But just HOW much does a normal user require a phone which handles push email and has a business-y look all over, including but not limited to the interface? And all my babble about application/theme installing (if possible, I have no experience with BBs) applies here as well.

Bottom line: no, I'm not being jealous on people who get smartphones, just 'cause I use a SE K800 (although it's not a bad phone at all). No, I'm not meaning to prevent them from using more advanced devices (even if there is hardly any sense in someone studying a particular area that they don't like. We can't all be IT guys, the ride is no fun.). I'm just expressing my opinion on the lack of necessity for cellphone companies to release budget smartphones. Nowadays there are many dumbphones that can handle this piece of the market in style (and here I would highly recommend Sony Ericsson phones. They may not be good with smartphones, but, having been centered on dumbphones for what, 11 years?, they have a great deal of experience with user experience. Their phones have a pleasant interface, intuitive menus, and lots of functions while leaving out those obviously not needed by the consumer and which would only make their usage of the terminal more difficult.), and are also reasonably priced. Just my 2 cents.

The next topic I will probably tackle in a post of such lengths will be the industry of dual SIM phones in my view.

sâmbătă, 29 ianuarie 2011

Move LockScreen to Unlock (Cydia)

Like many other iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad users, I too want a piece of the heaven that is Android on my device. Since we can't safely install it on some of the iDevices just yet (see The iDroid Project for details), the next feasible step is modifying the interface to increase the similarity to Google's mobile operating systems.

There are quite a few Android themes out there for iOS, but they all use either the default lockscreen or a skin to turn it into the Android lockscreen with sliders. But I have never seen a mod to change the lockscreen into the stock top-swiping lockscreen found on older Android versions (CMIIW). Until now.

Move LockScreen to Unlock is a quite new hack on Cydia which does just that. It provides a way to unlock your iDevice by swiping the lockscreen either direction or one that you choose in the Settings screen. You can also hide the default lockscreen slider, but even the creator of this mod recommends that you first test it thoroughly before taking that decision. For me, it's the 2nd day of using it and I have no problems. It also works when locking the screen while in an app, returning to the app after unlocking.

Move LockScreen to Unlock can be acquired on Cydia for $0.99 from the Modmyi repository... or another, more shady way.

duminică, 23 ianuarie 2011

duminică, 9 ianuarie 2011

Dreams And Their Doings

First, Happy New 2011 everyone!

Now back to the topic of this post. Today I want to talk about dreams, since I've had quite a peculliar experience with one.

Most of you know what dreams are. They are projections of our subconscious that we have when we are asleep. They appear in the deep sleep stage, and are beneficial to our brain.

Dreams usually express wishes that we, unable to fulfill them, have tucked away into the subconscious. Sometimes though, they might also take the duty of "letting some steam go", the stress accumulated during the day. In those cases, one dreams of very bad things, of tragedies, such dreams being called nightmares.

Seeing as dreams often express our deepest wishes, it is not at all weird for one to wake up from a dream and feel great sadness upon realizing that the object of their desire, of their dream, is no longer obtainable.

...Or is it? I know, for one, that such a thing has happened to me a couple of times. I dreamt about finally getting something that I have desperately wished, then waking up, I found that I was not able to fulfill that goal. Every time, I would spend a few minutes to regain my image of real life, then I would feel frustrated over breaking all links to the dream.

Maybe I am the mad man in all of this. But it doesn't seem, at least to me, out of the ordinary to have this type of reactions, since dreams are, as I said, the expressions of our subconscious.

Just a thought of mine. Have a great day!

vineri, 31 decembrie 2010

As 2010 is drawing to a close...

So this is it, folks. Here we are, at the end of a very busy year. A year with lots of ups and downs, happy times and moments of grief, good or bad luck.

How was this year for me? It revealed some parts of me that I never knew of, it parted me with loved ones and then brought them back to me... It made me realise once again that life is to be lived to the fullest, "like there's no tomorrow". However, it also hinted me towards the need of a good foresighting of the future. It helped me see the blessing of a good friend. It brought back to my attention the importance of family. And it made me see once again my mistakes, my deepest flaws.

New Year Resolutions? While I'm sure I will not be able to keep them... First and foremost, this year, I will definitely try to be a better friend. A better overall person. Also, I hope I will succeed in being a bit more... parsimonious, so to say, with my money. For as so often was proven to me, troubles never wait for one to be ready.

I will also try to escape, in as small a percentage as possible, my Internet and gadget addictions. This goes hand in hand with my financial resolution. ;) And last, but not least, I will try to post more in this small space of mine. While I know my blog is as of yet not important enough to be indexed by Google, Yahoo and other search engines in higher places, I hope that in the future, by changing my writing techniques and tackling news related to my (and the Net's) interests, I will achieve a greater number of readers.

Indeed, this goes against one of the 10 Christian commandments: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." (Exodus 20:17). Though I do believe God would find no wrong in the desire to spread one's thoughts to as many people as possible, with the purpose of finding like-minded ones. But I digress.

While typing, another resolution has come to my mind. I will try, this year, to broaden the subjects tackled by this blog, to more than IT, and also change its name to reflect that. If I /will/ succeed that, however, only God knows.

8 and a half hours left of this old 2010... May you and your family have a great 2011, and may all your wishes become reality.


"Happy new year,
May we all have our hopes, our will to try,
If we don't we might as well lay down and die..."

luni, 28 iunie 2010

Another Way To Transfer Books From Your PC to Stanza on Your iPhone/iPod touch

Many of you might know about Stanza, the popular eBook reader for the iPhone and iPod touch. It really is a very good app, and the best part is that it's free!

Stanza reads all kinds of formats, from ePub, to PDFs. But say you want to transfer a PDF or a book in another format from your computer to your iDevice and you have no WiFi capabilities. Well there is another way to do that...


1. Open SBSettings, then tap More.

2. Scroll down to App Folders and tap it.

3. Scroll down to Stanza and tap it. You will get a pop-up with its path in the filesystem.

4. Now, on the computer, open SSH or iFunBox or whatever you use to transfer goods to your iThing and navigate to the indicated path. Place your books there (they have to be in one of these formats: ePub, eReader, HTML, TXT, PDF, DOC, RTF, MS LIT, Kindle, Mobipocket or PalmDoc).

5. Back to your iPhone/iPod, go launch Stanza. Your new book will appear in the books list, with the first page as a book cover if no one is provided.

6. If the title and author are messed up, tap the small circle next to the book, then tap the Edit button. You can edit the title and author name.

And that's all. You can now read your books. This particular one that I chose (and probably others too) looks pixelated when in landscape mode and zoomed in so that the text stretches from one edge of the screen to the other, but it's still clear and OK to read. I actually read for one hour out of that last night.