Life & Technology

Handful lessons in different areas of technology and life in general.

Monthly Archives: August 2009

Enter iPhone 3GS. A New Level of Experience.

Finally, I owned the fastest, most powerful iPhone yet – the iPhone 3GS 32GB.

I’d like to thank Globe Telecom PH for their speedy process (IMO) on their iPhone reservation. I did file an online iphone reservation on their site and after 2 days, walked to a nearest Globe center in Robinsons Galleria and file the reservation form for Plan 899. And the customer service representative named Marvin, who attended my inquiry said that I will expect a call after two weeks from the time of my sign-up, so roughly 2nd week of August 2009. And weeks passed by until last Friday, Marvin being lucky enough to be true to his word called up at my office and said that my unit is now available and can drop by anytime on their shop. Whew! what a nice weekend for me to finally get a hold of an iPhone, my very first time to literally touch this device!

So what’s the content of the package? Simple – An iPhone 3GS small box colored black and a black unit, a post-paid SIM card which is not yet activated and an iPhone 3GS paper bag.

So …

What I learned/discovered so far?
* …that the camera resolution is 2048×1024 in 3megapixel. But if you’re sending the image via the Send Photo, it will actually trimmed down to 800×600 resolution. To get the actual size on sending the photo, just open the photo, copy it and paste it on your email client, Presto! original file size and resolution will be sent!
* … that since my location is Philippines, if I detached my iPhone from iTunes PC and leave the location as is, the iTunes via iPhone will not work anymore, I can’t even open the main window to search for music! Error message says that my location is not supported! My only resolution to this problem is if I like to browse the iTunes on the phone, just change the location to United States and sync this info to my iphone. This will solve the iTunes problem but using this settings you cannot install any application from AppStore. So, just vice versa, leave it as is for your original location if you like to install an App via AppStore on your phone.
* … that to arrange my apps / icons, just tap and hold the screen until the icons start shaking indicating that you can now drag-n-drop icons into different places to your liking. Very slick and well-thought design!
* … that iPhone do not work seamlessly with a Wireless WEP connection on my Linksys router. I adjusted my security setting and moved it up to use the WPA2-Personal security type. No problems so far after this changes.
* … that the SIM activation is a 24-hour period and the iPhone needs to be restarted in order for the carrier to detect/refresh properly.
* … that installing an app on both PC and iPhone is the same, simple and intuitive.
* … that the iPhone 3GS Guided Tour video is true and all of the features are wonderful and useful.

What I recently purchased?
* Currently, out of curiosity, just bought the app for my daughter called Old McDonald via AppStore on my PC that costs $ 0.99. My daughter, Margrette, is very very happy on this app coz it allows her to choose from the list of animals that fit on McDonald’s farm. Simple yet effective and entertaining for kids.
* Purchased my Belkin iPhone cover for Php 1,200 at PowerMac Megamall and a CapDase screen protector worth Php 450.00 at digital Hub Robinsons Galleria.

What I already installed?
* TweetDeck – Being my default twitter desktop application on my Windows XP laptop, it’s natural for me to install this app on my iPhone since I am familiar with the interface, nothing changed, except the size. I really really like TweetDeck and considered as my top favorite for client product line for Twitter.
* 12cast – I find this app very useful as it allowed me to upload my videos and directly post the link as my twitter status! Very clever.
* TapTap Revenge – I’m starting to get myself addicted to this FREE game. Just like a Dance Revolution but using your hands instead of feet. Very very entertaining and makes my hands keep alive and functioning (arthritis safe?). What’s more cool to this app is the ability for me to choose my tracks or just download all available free tracks.
* Y! Music – Since I don’t find yet a Radio app to play radio songs, this app makes me listen to all kind of songs except that no Tagalog songs.
* Yahoo Messenger – Need to say more?
* Facebook – Even though I don’t have a facebook account yet, but soon I will, for now, only my wife is using this.
* AppGmail – The default Mail of iPhone allows me to add my GMail account but this one is cool in that it allows you to read mails fullscreen and more.
* FreeRSS – My RSS reader of choice or maybe I didn’t search for alternative?
* SabiNila – This app was created by a Filipino company, Vinta and caters all local news headlines, politics, business, technology, world and others powered by Inquirer.net. I salute the developers of this app, makes myself proud to be a Filipino by delivering their title name in Tagalog and even the background is the 3-stars of Philippine Flag.
* ZZips PH – created by www.applei.ph developers that caters a quick lookup of all zip codes and location in the Philippines. Graphics is simple yet attracted. Cool app!
* Others – mostly games and education related for my daughter.

What I like to do next?
* … maybe purchased more apps with $0.99 price tag on it! Doesn’t cost that much.
* … to Jailbreak/Unlock my iPhone before Christmas. Still need to get my hands around this device for a couple of months.
* … explore more on this device via programming utilizing the iPhone SDK which I already downloaded but not yet started on it. There’s a learning curve on this as I’m not yet very familiar with Cocoa Objective C language. Had a glanced on it but never really had the time to try it.

So, where’s your sample shots?

powermac_belkin iphone_babyandgreta iphone_greta iphone_greta_chair

Where’s the sample videos?
My video samples will be uploaded via 12cast and can be seen via my twitter status updates!

iPhone 3GS is my latest expensive gadget so far! And currently satisfied with it and starting to love every piece of information available on the iPhone 3GS. And I must say IMHO that although some people can afford this phone, this device is not for everyone. If you like this phone just for the sake of having it, forget it, this phone have so many things to offer if you truly believe that the cost of this unit is more than the cost of what you’ll gained.

Truly, a new level of experience is starting …

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Windows 7: A New Experience on my Shuttle XPC box

Today, I just got a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate RTM and the experience of installing this fresh OS was full of excitement and joy.

Before I installed Windows 7 on my actual machine, I played it first on VMWare 6.5 and see if there will be problems especially on the drivers. Well, the installation took only about 23 mins configured as 1GB RAM, Dual Processor and only consumed roughly 8~9GB of hard disk space. I verified if all my hardware was installed via Device Manager and found no errors on it. Faster reboot, shutdown process is clean and an impressive User Interface, very sleek, uncluttered and clean. With the success of my installation via VMWare, I decided I go for a clean install of Windows 7 over my Windows Vista.

On my actual/physical machine, I have the following specifications:

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.40GHz
Memory: 2GB
Hard Disk: 500 GB

I reformatted my hard disk via the installation wizard and my D:\ drive remained intact, only my drive C:\ that contains OS specific files is the one that I made changes. I was amazed and pretty impressed on the speed of the installation process. It took me only 17 minutes to see my first Windows 7 desktop screen!

The lightness of the installation process is somewhat similar to Windows XP and the interactive way of it is much like of Windows Vista. It just took me 2 to 3 restarts and my only participation is when I needed to choose the language (1st step), entering my username and desktop pc name (2nd), assigning a password (3rd) and activation (4th). The fifth is after the last restart and the login box prompted me to input my username and password.

default_desktop

and by looking on my Task Manager, seems like a good sign

task_manager

The actual hard disk space used on the initial setup is only 8GB but since I installed Windows 7 on my desktop machine, I don’t need the hibernation feature of the OS. After issuing the command powercfg –h off to turn off hibernation feature, I gained an additional of > 1GB of hard disk space.

Initial Impressions:

* Start Menu

The default new utility that are shown on the Start Menu are: Sticky Notes (new) and Snipping Tool. I haven’t tried the Snipping Tool but familiar with the Sticky Notes utility. This is a cool addition IMO as myself is a notepad guy that writes any information fast via notepad and save it for later. With the Sticky Notes, I can create quick notes easily. NoteZilla have this kind of tool but it is a commercial product.

default_start_menu

One thing I noticed on Windows 7 is how it maximizes the usage of the Start Menu. For example, I opened and save several images on my Paint application. All these recently edited images can also be seen on the Start Menu as a cascaded items on the Paint application. Very very useful addition. Recent Items is not for My Documents anymore but for all applications as well that uses the MRU facility.

menu_link_subitems

* File Explorer

The File Explorer improves much much better than Windows Vista, it simplifies the notion of Personal Folders by Adding/Changing it to Libraries as the root node  Computer icon is not expanded by default and also the Network icon.

explorer

When navigating/clicking thru the Computer, Partition drives will be displayed. The new thing about this OS is when you traverse a directory and sub-directory on the right side, the left side is still displaying the root directory and it will follow your path only when you double-click it. Intuitive interface enhancement IMO.

And also, Internet Explorer 7 sports a little adjustment with the way the URL is visible. The actual name of the domain is the only one with a bright color, the rest is colored as grayish suggesting that the most important item to remember is only the name of the domain. This enhancement is now carried over on the File Explorer itself. If you are browsing a directory, the name of the file or the folder name are the ones with strong focus in terms of visibility as shown on the image below:

visual_difference

On the desktop, Microsoft realized that the most common thing that the user often do on the context menu is to access and change the screen resolution. Well, changing of Screen Resolution is now part of the context menu on the desktop, and more, they also added the Gadgets menu (noticed that the Gadget Sidebar is not loaded by default).

context_menu

Changing of screen resolution is also changed its look and feel:

screen_resolution

* Taskbar

The taskbars’ opened items are now seen as icons:

taskbar

But that’s not all, if you hover to one of your task items, a preview with nice transition effect will be displayed and allows you to close the application from the opened preview window!

What I did noticed and really caught my attention is the way Windows 7 focuses on the hovered taskbar item. When you open multiple applications and hover to any one of them, you will notice how Windows 7 deactivates other opened applications by making a transparent/translucent effect and only the edges are visible to mark the location of each opened apps:

transparency

But wait, the most useful addition on the taskbar itself is the Show Desktop function! You can minimize all and show your desktop by clicking vertical bar on the right-most of your Taskbar! Very impressive functionality enhancement!

show_desktop

Recently I blogged about a tool called Taskbar Shuffle that allows you to drag the taskbar item and position it to your liking. I’ve been using this tool on my Windows XP and Windows Vista boxes coz this functionality is not native to these OSes. And now, Windows 7 team thinks that this functionality is worth to be added on the OS and now, I no longer need the Taskbar Shuffle coz Windows 7 is already doing this to me!

* Re-engineered MS Paint, New Look, New Feel

I thought MS Paint will never change the way it was since Windows 95. But to my surprise, the new look and feel of MS Paint makes me do more of my basic image editing on this nifty little app! Just like the UI of SnagIT version 9.

mspaint_new_look

and now, it can save PNG files too! In fact, all of these images were captured via Print Screen and pasted it on MS Paint, Save As PNG images one by one!

* Calculator

Even this simple tool is also improved its functionalities. It added many functions based on your computing needs. Let’s say if you’re studying engineering or involved in a computer computation, you can perform such task by using the MS Calculator. Impressive eh!

calculator

* Others

PowerShell is now integrated on the Windows 7, running this via console by typing powershell will change your current command prompt:

powershell

– I like the transition effect for changing a wallpaper, just like previewing an image on an Image Gallery!

HomeGroup is also new to me but haven’t tried it on my home network.

Surely, i haven’t seen all the beauty and wonders that Windows 7 offers to the users but as far as my initial impression, this OS will surely be the best alternative to Windows Vista and to all folks using Windows XP that are afraid of switching to the new OS, you will miss what Windows 7 can offer you.

Along the way to my journey on this new OS, I will be writing it all down to this blog.

Philippine Price is roughly 15K for Windows 7 Ultimate.

Some sites that I find useful:

Windows 7 Related Forum
http://www.sevenforums.com

Windows 7 Tweaks:
http://www.intowindows.com/category/windows-7-tweaks/

Windows 7 Theme Pack
http://www.intowindows.com/download-14-awesome-windows-7-themes/