Why Apple should do more


Apple is a phenomenally successful company. It does not behoove it to be stingy in fixing inherent problems in its devices. Why did it take so long and a class action suite to instate the MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues? This is not the only instance where they’ve actually messed up but not fessed up.

I’ve been sitting on an iPhone 4S with a Wi-Fi issue, apparently caused by a flawed chip that cannot handle enough heat. That problem appeared after two years of use, but many have encountered it right after unboxing. I didn’t actually contact Apple, but others who did have been offered not so cheap replacement options.

Apple being Apple, shouldn’t be stingy about fixing its problems. I haven’t purchased an iPhone from Apple since I encountered the Wi-Fi issue. I’d rather purchase a cheap Android phone than an expensive iPhone that cannot last two years without exhibiting a serious issue.

Comparison of Personal Finance Apps


Here’s a comparison of personal finance based on features I’ve come to consider as necessary. After using Pocket Money for three years, I have chosen Account Tracker as my app of choice.

Personal Finance Apps

Monthly news review


This post reviews news in the month that has passed.

Everything Google announced at Google I/O 2014 in one handy list

Google announced a lot in one long keynote at I/O. Android One, Android Auto, Android Wear, and Android TV, are probably the big announcements this year. Looks like Google is prefixing all mobile-oriented hardware with Android, web-oriented hardware with Chrome, and services with Google. Unless it is something coming out of Nest, who’ve just launched a developer program for the programmable home.

Aereo Lost. What Now?

TV broadcasters are celebrating while the tech industry is up in arms. Are customers the real losers? Why should we need airwaves to transmit TV in the era of mobile internet? Why hasn’t the TV business adopted on-demand programming more actively? It isn’t as if their business isn’t being slowly driven to the ground.

This is Microsoft’s first Android smartphone, the Nokia X2

Nokia could have hedged its bets with Android a long while back. So why now? It is a cheap but attractive Android Smartphone full of Microsoft software and services.

Amazon’s Fire phone launch: Hits, misses, and takeaways

From inexpensive tablets to a fairly expensive phone, Amazon as come a long way. Lack of Bluetooth 4.0 (especially Smart) is annoying. It does seem to sport universal LTE, like the Moto G 4G. Will the Fire Phone truly delight users?

Google Donates Mod_Spdy To The Apache Foundation

HTTP 2.0 is around the corner and changes one crucial aspect of HTTP 1.x. It will no longer be a text-based protocol. An important feature is that data will be multiplexed over a single connection a browser maintains with a server.

Docker hopes its container platform will ease the lives of developers

Will an open container help big companies and other providers overcome the dependency on and momentum of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft?

Turing Test breakthrough as super-computer becomes first to convince us it’s human

Not everybody is convinced though, but the implications are important nevertheless. How do you know an e-mail message wasn’t sent by a real person? Are we at the cusp of having to deal with endless amount of believable spam? Looking at the positive aspects, customer support, distance education, and other areas that depend on personal interaction, may benefit.

Skype Translator Will Change the World

Real-time voice translation is a hard problem. You have to translate speech to text. The text then needs to be translated to the target language. The translated text then needs to be converted to speech. Imagine doing all of that in real time. Imagine doing that wrong in a UN session discussing climate change.

Google’s secretive 3D-mapping project now has a tablet

Google is keen to map the indoors. I see huge potential for indoor mapping. Imagine your interior designer mapping your house so that she can show you exactly how your renovated indoors will look? A robot that can go about your house tidying it? Are we heading towards becoming Wall-E lazy?

Apple announces iOS 8 at WWDC 2014

Easily one of Apple’s best WWDC considering all the news. A new programming language called Swift, Mac OS X Yosemite, Metal, HomeKit, CloudKit, and extensions in iOS 8. For those eager to learn Swift, Apple has provided an iBook for it already. A good news for all Netflix viewers, Safari on Mac OS X Yosemite now allows streaming using HTML5, no Silverlight required.

Monthly news review


This post reviews news in the month that has passed.

Xamarin 3 Enterprise Edition Reviewed

Is cross-platform native GUI development a reality? Forms is something I’d be eager to adopt. Xamarin licensing is a bit on the expensive side of things though, and aimed squarely at enterprise developers that can afford it.

DMV Lays Out Rules Governing Self-Driving Car Tests

If you live in California, you’re now one step closer to riding a self-driving car. The rest of the world will probably benefit too. Google has been making a lot of press this month with their new self-driving car. That its brand has surpassed Apple in value is probably attributable to projects like these, and the good-enough smartphones.

Microsoft announces 12-inch Surface Pro 3, wants to replace your iPad & MacBook

Wish I could replace my laptop, though I think it is hard to beat the one I currently use in versatility. Care to guess which one?

Xiaomi’s 49-inch Android TV boasts 4K for just $640

Xiaomi already sells an Android powered TV, but this one has an incredible 4K display.

Motorola Says It’s Time to Ditch the Feature Phone, Intros $129 Moto E

Not satisfied with the price point achieved by Moto G, Motorola has launched Moto E. Lenovo must be pleased. Motorola has had to make a few trade-offs. Moto E has only 4 GB of internal storage and no front-facing camera. To its credit it comes with a microSD slot and Android KitKat.

GitHub open-sources all of its Atom text editor

Imagine Google Chrome as a full-fledged development environment. Atom is eminently customizable and already has a huge number of packages. Need Lua script editing capability? Just search for Packages with “lua” in their name and install.

Apple Launches Recycling Program for All Old Products

Have old Apple gadgets that friend and family refuse to accept? Apple will now take them back for free or a credit towards new purchases.

Monthly news review


This post reviews news in the month that has passed. Comment below to leave your opinion.

$150 Smartphone spectrometer can tell the number of calories in your food

Not a day goes by without a new accessory for Smartphone being unveiled. We now have accessories for everything from health to payments. A miniature spectrometer is however something unheard of, especially one backed by a cloud service that learns from every scan. One step closer to the tricorder. Awesome.

The perfect iOS email app finally exists

Accompli is being touted as a better (nay perfect) e-mail app. Like Outlook, it has mail, calendar and contacts, all working seamlessly. The attachments view is fantastic to quickly find and send attachments. There are a few rough edges, which is to be expected in a freshly baked app.

HTML5 apps can be just as speedy as native apps with the new Famo.us Javascript framework

The Famo.us open source framework is tackling performance of mobile browsers as a platform problem aka HTML5 head-on. Currently, their site is invite-only, which I received a couple of days back. I’ve been through their demos using Chrome for Desktop and iOS and they are stellar.

Car-hacking: A New Fear For Drivers of Tech-Loaded Vehicles

As our cars get more tech savvy and connected, they’ll be more prone to the same kinds of vulnerabilities that affect other computing devices. While you are still driving around in your old(ish) car you can still do some neat things this month: use CarPlay if you have the right system from Pioneer, control your Smartphone hands-free using Bluetooth LE, evaluate your driving performance, and get haptic feedback to avoid running into trouble. The latter is rather ambitious.

Massive Security Bug In OpenSSL Could Affect A Huge Chunk Of The Internet

I hope you have heard of this flaw already. Otherwise, stop whatever you’re doing, update your computer systems, review what your service providers have done about it, and change your passwords on compromised services. It is serious and needs immediate action. The sad thing is that the flaw has been known to some for a while.

Now, when did our governments decide they could spy on us without using the legal system? Brazil has taken the first steps to prevent that kind of thing from happening by passing an Internet Bill of Rights (text in Portuguese).

Amazon unveils Fire TV

Amazon has taken a leap over Apple’s hobby by creating a device for its Prime subscribers. It also looks like a nice low-end game console, no console (pun intended) there for Nintendo and others. If I were Nintendo, I would stop making consoles (sold at cost) and make money on mobile games. Amazon has also subtly changed their branding by not calling it Kindle Fire TV.

Microsoft Launches .NET Foundation

Microsoft is recognizing the fact that the .NET community is keen on using C# everywhere. A C# programmer can now target several platforms thanks to Xamarin. Reuse is the keyword that comes to mind when thinking of .NET these days. It used to be so with Java, and thanks to Google and Android it still is (somewhat). Oracle, though, wants to litigate instead of fanning the embers.

In related news, Microsoft has also announced that Windows for the internet of things will be free. That includes all devices with screen size under 9 inches. And, PC users can now update Windows 8.1. Slowly and steadily Microsoft has made Windows 8 more PC-user friendly.

Dual SIM LG L40 (D175F) with Android KitKat


The cost-benefit of Android Smartphones continues to impress. LG L40 (D175F) is no Moto G, but it is cheaper, and a wonderful piece of hardware. I recently bought one for my wife. It currently retails for R$ 499 (Brazilian Reals) or about US $ 225.

LG-D175F

More details follow

  • Very responsive overall
  • In black or white
  • Double tap to lock or use (or achieve the same with power side button)
  • Android 4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Dual core 1.2 GHz CPU
  • 320×480 pixel, 3.5 inch LCD screen with capacitive touch
  • Digital TV (Brazilian DTV standard for the model cited)
  • FM radio
  • 3.15 mega-pixel (2048×1350 pixels) camera (no AF)
  • No front camera
  • Up to 32 GB microSD card (I bought a 16 GB type 4 card)
  • Dual SIM (normal mini SIM, not micro or nano)
  • 2G/3G data (supports tethering other devices over Wi-Fi i.e. hotspot)
  • Wi-Fi
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 4 GB internal flash storage (1.64 GB available to user)
  • A-GPS support
  • Rotation sensing with built-in accelerometer
  • Bluetooth 4.0 with LE (was able to detect an iBeacon emulated on Mac OS X)
  • MTP (media transfer protocol) works fine with Windows (transfer arbitrary files to/from internal storage and SD card)
  • MTP doesn’t work with Mac OS X Mavericks, but Android File Transfer does the job

Monthly news review


Continuing the series on monthly, predominantly technological, news review…

CarPlay

iOS has arrived in the car, at least the premium car, not that it wasn’t there already. The experience is based around your iOS device and makes driving as distraction-free as possible.

Popcorn Times

Popcorn Times was born, died and re-born. Watching pirated movies online is nothing new, make it convenient and you’ve got a winner. What makes the application itself interesting is its use of Node-WebKit and peerflix.

Android Wear

No doubt now that Google is taking Android to wearables, starting with smartwatches. These days it looks like everyone is one-upping Apple, but somehow it ends up raking in all the profits.

WebScaleSQL

That’s a nerdy name for a new fork of MySQL that scales better.

Facebook buying Oculus VR

Looks like Facebook is making use of its cash reserves again. Earlier, they paid significantly more to buy WhatsApp.

Office for iPad

Lot’s of Office news this month, concluding with Microsoft launching Office for iPad. It is already top of charts in several countries. Earlier Microsoft launched a free OneNote app for Mac. I wonder which Office app is most useful, now that everyone concurs PowerPoints should be ditched.

ReadMill team acqhired by Dropbox

ReadMill was my favorite reading app for a while. Unfortunately, and especially on mobile, e-books are not easily ported to other apps.

Philips announces 4K TV with Android

TV makers have adopted widely divergent Smart TV OS strategies. LG has embraced WebOS. Samsung has embraced something akin to Chrome OS with support for HTML 5, Native Client, and WebGL. Will Android take over?

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7

CorelDRAW has announced the X7 iteration of their suite. The user interface has received a significant overhaul. Heavy users will encounter a crash every other day that will make them lose their work, that has not changed.

Quake III on Raspberry Pi using open source graphics driver

Last month Broadcom announced open source drivers for the GPU on Raspberry Pi. Simon Hall has thus claimed the bounty announced by Raspberry Pi Foundation. In unrelated news, Oxford Flood Network uses Raspberry Pi to monitor flooding levels. Interesting convergence of ideas such as smart cities, internet of things, and open hardware.