Archive for October, 2005

Rushed to hospital

It seems that 1-2 times a year I must be rushed to the hospital. That bad my health has become…

Adding (or resulted by?) to my neck/spine injury last week, my ribcage was in immense pain last night at 2:30 AM. The whole ribcage, around my body, gave me a feeling that was being squashed. It started about an hour after I published the poll at osnews, as I was sitting in my computer writing this month’s article for my Greek PC Magazine’s column, the pain became bigger and bigger over time.

At some point the pain was so intense, that we decided to go to the hospital. We arrived at ER at around 3:30 AM, and the doctor did not find anything wrong with my blood pressure, lungs or my heart. He concluded that this was a random muscle pain and that the pain would subside overtime, as it did temporarily. After going out of the hospital, at 5 AM (the coldest part of the night), I shivered and the pain came back. This fact helps the theory that it was a muscle pain, as when you shiver, the body puts a big pressure to its muscles.

However, what I found interesting is the fact that after I came home, the pain hasn’t stop and it would only stop many hours later, AFTER I sleep in the SAME position I had to sleep last week when I had my neck injury (on my back, with my left arm raised behind me). Considence? Weird stuff, that’s for sure. 🙁

Forbes Goes After Bloggers

In a recent article, Forbes bashes bloggers big time:
“Blogs started a few years ago as a simple way for people to keep online diaries. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns.”

On my blog, you will find all that, and more (although I always strive to be as objective as I can to all matters). And I think that blogs are the PERFECT VEHICLE to do exactly that. In the past, normal people did not have a VOICE (beyond their constitutional right to vote, which btw I don’t have here in US). Now, people through their blogs can rant, can put the record straight, can blow up some steam. And they should be free to do so. It’s their personal corner on the web, it’s their virtual home. And if some of these blogs have become too “popular” for some people’s tastes (like Russell Beattie‘s for example), well, blame the blogger’s ability to write interesting stuff. 😉

neck injury

Awww…

On Sunday morning, just after I woke up, I moved my neck right and left, and then I heard a “craaack”… It didn’t hurt though. Next day, I wake up with half my back swollen and my neck in pain, I can’t move it right or left.

It’s now Wednesday, and while the *muscle* pain has gone away since Monday, the spine/neck pain inside the *bone* is still there. It scares me. I might have to go to the doctor… 🙁

Multimedia reviews

Next week I will be reviewing for OSNews the two recorder products from NeurosAudio: check here http://www.neurosaudio.com/ and here http://linuxdevices.com/news/NS7231044963.html
The devices arrived today, they are pretty good, especially the plain Neuros MPEG-4 Recorder which allows for scheduled recording and direct recording to SD/CF cards! It’s a VCR-like device for your PDA/phone/mmedia device! As for the Neuros 442 Digital Media Player/Recorder, its source code will becoming open source soon and its UI will be ported on top of Linux. More soon…

IM on a phone

I used IM on a phone tonight, via WirelessVilage’s YamiGo free service. They support ICQ, AIM, MSN and Y!. Pretty good experience so far in terms of stability and speed!

SonyEricsson’s IM client for the service supports up to 30 buddies visible at the same time (older models only supported 20), and that’s troublesome as I have over 100 contacts in all my 4 IM accounts. Of course, only 20-25 of my buddies are Online at the same time, but unfortunately the SonyEricsson client is “stupid” and it tries to display all of them, even the Offline ones. And because it only supports displaying up to 30 at a time, it overflows, and so I can only see a few of my AIM buddies, but not all the rest. 🙁

The blame is two fold:

1. SonyEricsson should fix their client and support a list up to 256 buddies, or something. I mean, they support showing up to 512 contacts in their addressbook, why not support a bigger list for IM buddies too? I don’t see the technical difficulty!

2. If phone manufacturers don’t learn their lesson, YamiGo should not send the Offline buddy list to the client, but only send the buddies that are Online.

That W900i again…

I don’t know if I am obsessive-compulsive with gadgets or not, thing is, I own quite a few cellphones and quite a few PDAs. When it comes to phones, I am not pleased with *any* of them so I am constantly in search for new ones.

I am not interested in getting a full-blown smartphone at this time, so I had a long look at the current ‘high-end feature’ phones. Some Nokia phones are among them, and of course, the 3 best SonyEricsson phones to date, the K750i, the W800i and the brand new W900i.

The new W900i has a few new features over the W800i Walkman phone, including a QVGA 2.2″ screen, 470 MBs of storage and MemoryStick Pro Duo slot, two cameras (2 MP on the back and VGA on the front for videocalls) and UMTS 3G support. However, it has a few new crappy problems:

1. It’s freaking big! I don’t know what got into the SonyEricsson engineers (or managers), but instead of making the phone look even and have a sliding keyboard, they made the screen swivel around the keyboard, which adds to the bulk of the device. And if you see the phone from the sides, its shape is uneven. Check pictures here compared to the W800i:
http://se-community.com/album.php?image_id=6176
http://se-community.com/album.php?image_id=6152
Check for more pictures and info on the 2-page review here:
http://se-community.com/?s=141

2. Still no support for Bluetooth EDR or for the A2DP profile (which allows for Bluetooth *stereo* headphones instead of a plain bluetooth handsfree). What’s the point of having the BEST mp3 phone on the market today when it doesn’t support Bluetooth stereo headphones?

3. The freaking 2MP camera on the back is now completely uncovered, while both the K750i and W800i were securing the main camera!

4. There is *a lot* of empty/unused space around the LCD screen. They could easily have used a 2.5″ QVGA LCD instead of their 2.2″ QVGA. That would have given them the go-ahead to use smaller fonts and fit more information on a single screen.

5. No Wifi, despite the QVGA screen used. Ok, I might be asking too much here, but such a phone that would be used mostly by young people, I am sure that WiFi would be invaluable to them. And if WiFi was to be included, a native port of Opera would be welcome (in which case they should include more RAM to the device, as Opera requires 6-8 MBs of RAM instead of the phone’s 2 MBs). The current SonyEricsson browser is below par (for example, it barely renders gnomefiles.org but not gnomefiles.org/app.php which is only just a tiny bit more complex). If an Opera native port proves to be very expensive (also because it would require more RAM), then SonyEricsson should just license Openwave’s browser. Openwave’s browser is not as good as Opera’s, and only slightly worse than Netfront’s, but it runs on very little RAM (512KB to 2 MB, depending on the version/features enabled) and it’s much better than SonyEricsson’s own browser anyway. And it’s cheaper than Opera too (Openwave asks for just a few pennies per phone sold).

So, I am not going for the W900i that’s for sure, and so I have three options:

1. Wait for the W1000i, whenever that comes out, and pray that SonyEricsson will do it right this time.
2. Buy either the K750i or the W800i (they are both identical internally, the W800i only has a better included handsfree headphones and an updated UI with a better media player over the K750i).
3. Buy one of Nokia’s new Symbian phones. Maybe the E70 or something.

One thing is for sure: SonyEricsson fucked it up this time with their second Walkman series phone. Too bad, because their UI is really-really good, the phone is powerful, and they were going at the right direction.

Regarding Dakota Fanning

I am watching Dakota Fanning as I am writing this, at Jay Leno’s show. This little girl is amazingly intelligent. I mean, I haven’t seen any other kid being as smart. She has a bright future, no matter what she will decide to do in her life, besides acting.

Oh, the surprise :P

I got an IM by an uknown guy (who obviously knew who I was) and asked me the question “should I go buy eComStation OS, is it any good?”. And I replied “no”. That probably came as a surprise to him, especially when I replied to his question of “what should I buy then?” and I replied “Windows XP Pro”.

No, I don’t get paid by MS and neither I give head to Bill Gates (as it has been suggested many times) but the truth of the matter is, WinXP *works*, and works much better than anything else out there (except Wi2k3 that is). If you are not a complete moron and don’t open suspicious email and run a basic AV and Firewall, Windows XP is the best bet of an OS today for a normal person (meaning, a non-geek user).

Only Mac OS X comes close to Windows, but it’s still not as good mostly because much software and especially drivers stop working between major releases (Apple’s fault).

But neither of the Linux, BeOS, OS/2, BSDs I would EVER suggest them for normal usage from a person like, let’s say, my brother or my cousins or my two brilliant nieces.

These OSes are great for some special purpose projects and some geek/developer itches (like the ones I have 5 days before my period >:P), but they are not and will never be suitable for the vast majority of people who want a desktop. Apple made it thus far only because they had a 20+ years of history behind them and many third party developers who were willing to port their apps over to OSX (plus OSX was innovative and differentiated enough from its competition at the time).

Linux has lots of software, but not exactly the software that people want, neither is easy to install apps (you can’t get a RANDOM Linux app off a RANDOM web site and install it with a single click). As long as no *big* company FORKS THE HELL OUT of Linux and its user apps (the same way Apple did with BSD) and build on top a BRAND NEW desktop platform that doesn’t have the usual linux crappy problems (neither the kde/gnome problems of trying to be cross-distro compatible and that limits their further engineering), then Linux will REMAIN on that 2% of its marketshare and be incompatible with itself.

What made MS big is compatibility: XP can run DOS binaries compiled in 1982. New Linux kernel versions can’t even support drivers that were compiled last month. I piss on that. They deserve the slack and that 2%.

Microsoft Smartphones Suck, Act II

A few weeks ago I posted a blog post about how the MS Windows smartphones suck (not the pocketpc-based phones but the real 176×220 Windows smartphones).

When my JBQ read that blog post he said “no, they are actually pretty good”. And then, today, he actually USED that phone (he usually uses his SE K700i). He immediately hated it for the same reasons I did. The thing feels like an afterthought, it has terrible usability. Not recommended for anyone.

MS should seriously sit down their asses and completely redesign the UI for these phones. While performance, stability and features are there, the actual overall usability is way below par.

Regarding the 3G phone Sony Ericsson W900i

Amazing phone. But as always, with all phones that I see around getting announced, there is always something I don’t like or something that’s missing. The Sony Ericsson W900i phone is loaded with all the uber-modern features, and yet it’s missing something: WiFi.