The box lasts longer


…than what comes within it. I got myself an iPhone 6 Plus as a replacement. It’s hard to resist a wish come true.

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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.

Moto G 4G screen gone bad in less than a month of use


Moto G 4G screen gone bad

Besides the line artifacts that appear on the screen, the image seems to be at a lower resolution. Icons and fonts appear more pixelated. Pressing on the screen below the camera causes the artifacts to move. To ensure it was the display and not the software, I took the screenshot below

Moto G 4G Screenshot

I bought it on one of my U.S. trips. The local authorized service center will only service under warranty Moto Gs bought in Brazil. I didn’t even save any money buying it in the U.S., it costs about the same in Brazil. Note to self, buy Apple products on international trips, they’ve got an international warranty program.

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.

Why not to complain through social media


Once upon a time, I used social media to vent my frustration.

Let me begin with the cause for the frustration. My pre-paid mobile carrier provides an iOS app to recharge phone credit. On a particular holiday, I tried recharging a few times along the day. All tries resulted in failure. Imagine my surprise then when, at the end of the day, all my tries were processed. It looks as if their backend system was caching all my requests in some kind of queue, and when they solved whatever problem was preventing the queue from being processed, all my requests got processed. I tried calling the carrier to get reimbursed. They told me that there was nothing they could do, that I should try calling my credit card company.

I called my credit card company and they were only willing to reimburse if the carrier stated in writing that they hadn’t charged me in the first place. Now imagine this, my carrier has no e-mail address I can write to. I did in fact find an ombudsman e-mail address, but the message I sent got bounced back.

That brings me to venting my frustration over social media. I described my problem on the social media page of the carrier, so that they would fix it. They heard, but they didn’t. Instead, they took away my ability to pay using credit card in all the channels I previously could. I cannot pay using that lovely iOS app, SMS, or by calling an automated voice response system.

From that experience, I have learned that social media is highly monitored, insults are deeply felt, and result in further frustrations down the line. I have stopped using social media to complain about a problem with a company. I prefer to stop dealing with that company altogether.

Is this how your circuits arrive?


TKJ Electronics did a very bad job of packaging and shipping this circuit to Brazil. They placed it in a bubble mailer envelop and shipped it. One of the headers is soldered wrong too. I paid them extra to solder the headers, a choice I now regret.

20131022-063846.jpg

Office 365 Home Premium a tremendous success?


Let me start with a story. At the end of last year Walmart.com.br kicked off its Black Friday deals. I went through the discounted products and found a gem. Office Home & Student 2010, priced at 45 Brazilian Reais (BRL) instead of its regular 199 BRL price tag, valid for three PCs. It also came with an offer to upgrade to the next version, whose launch was right around the corner. To get that free upgrade I had to register my e-mail at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/offer/.

Microsoft launched Office 2013 as a subscription service called Office 365 Home Premium and also a normally priced Office Home and Student 2013. The offer I signed up for came with a raw deal. I could either update to the subscription version and still keep using the earlier version, or upgrade to the non-subscription version valid for only one PC and never go back. Guess which I chose? It was a no brainer to go with the subscription version. So now when I read that Office 365 is a tremendous success, I silently wonder if that success isn’t based on coercing users to upgrade to a version of Office they wouldn’t have chosen.

Office 365 has now arrived on the iPhone. I do own all the apps in the iWork suite, so I won’t probably use it to create content. Viewing content created by others is a different matter. No Office substitute I have used on iOS provides seamless compatibility. I am hoping Office 365 will be different. Will I renew my Office 365 subscription next year? That’s a $99 question I’ll need to answer as and when it arises. At $29 a year, I might consider it a strong possibility.