Archive for December, 2005

We saw Asimo

We were at Disneyland in LA yesterday and except of the other normal nice stuff we saw, they had a special exhibition –used for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary– of Honda’s Asimo! I was thrilled to see the demo and be so close to Asimo (just a few meters away). The version of the robot we saw was the 2003 version and not the brand new one though.

Holidays

We are getting prepared for our holidays in LA and San Diego over here. We will be back for NewYears celebrations, but I will celebrate my Name Day during our trip (for most Greeks, “name days” are more important than birthdays). My parents and brother in law will join us there. My JBQ deserves the holidays a lot, he has worked so hard…

Again, happy holidays to everyone!

Next iPod will support A2DP/AVRCP

The next major iPod revision will support Bluetooth 2.0+EDR with the A2DP (stereo sound) and AVRCP (remote control) profiles in it. I don’t know if Apple will also release Apple-branded Bluetooth stereo wireless headphones too, but the wireless aspect of it all IS the next thing to try and differentiate the product from the oh-so-close Creative solutions. It is a good finish on an overall well-thought producdt.

And there’s the other thing too: many people avoid listen to music just in case they don’t miss that phone call they await for. With a bluetooth stereo headset you can be connected to the iPod and it would automatically stop playing music when you have a call, switch to its headset/handsfree profile, take the call, talk through the integrated mic and then end the call, and have the music resume automatically. And this thing is on the best interest of Apple because it means that customers who would avoid use their iPod some times now they would not have a reason not to.

And don’t forget that most people don’t use the cheap earphones that usually come with mp3 players. They buy better quality ones. Apple is selling some third party headphones through their store but they have nothing of their own to sell. And because it’s very difficult to knock off companies like Bose or Sony who have many years of experience in making good headphones, they have to go with something that these companies don’t offer: BT wireless headphones. And so Apple could take full advantage of their iPod brand, by “innovating” (there aren’t many BT stereo headsets out there today, most people don’t even know they exist).

The current BT 1.2 headsets suffer from low quality because Bluetooth is using its own codec for transmission, called SBC, and that codec sucks. It doesn’t “fit” on the 1 Mbps transfer rate of Bluetooth 1.x. So if Apple would go for something like this, they would use Bluetooth 2.0+EDR both ways.

From my point of view of the arm chair CEO, such a move makes perfect business and brand sense.

All you need to learn about Bluetooth stereo headsets is here: http://www.robertwebbe.nl/A2DP.html

Someone needs to get a clue and it ain’t me

I have a few mp3 players but my main mp3 player is the iPod Mini (1st Generation). Since I bought it less than a year ago, I used it exclusively with my Powerbook. I never had a problem with it.

I had a few more songs on my PC though that I wanted to transfer on to the iPod before we leave for holidays. And so I installed the iPod software on Windows, iTunes and all full monty, Windows recognized my iPod just fine, and then it asked me to FORMAT it. It said that Windows can not read this iPod, even if the iPod software update could “see” which firmware version was installed on the iPod (I already had the latest).

I have never used my iPod with anything than my Mac (Panther and Tiger). Why the hell the Windows iPod drivers don’t recognize it and mount it? Windows iTunes doesn’t wanna mount the iPod either (even if it *knows* is connected because it loads the iPod Software Update when I connect it to the PC). It keeps asking me to re-format my iPod! When I connect the iPod back to the Powerbook it works just fine!

Apparently Apple offers the iPods by default with the HFS+ filesystem and the user must format it when buying it to FAT32 in order to use it with Windows. Thing is, I use both a Windows and a Mac. If I reformat my iPod to FAT32 Mac OSX won’t recognize it anymore. Apple needs to get a clue and EITHER support the FAT32 filesystem on OSX, or port HFS+ to Windows as an fs addon (this is preferred because it will allow for files bigger than 4GB to work). Either way, having TWO filesystems supported on a single device creating support and user headaches is fucking ridiculous.

So much for “it just works”.

Sandisk’s Sansa m240 MP3 Player 1GB

Sandisk sent me their brand new mp3/wma player, the Sansa m240 1 GB, for a review. It’s the second generation of their Sansa player that I reviewed a few months ago on OSNews. They removed the SD slot, they added voice recording, amazing quality new earphones (much better than iPod’s) and apparently they have fixed ALL my nitpicks I had back then, except three:

1. Still no OGG support (not that I need it really, I only have 1 ogg song :P).

2. LCD still too dark when backlight is off (unreadable in my office).

3. No FM recording (16bit wav)

The only place where they screwed up the new design is that now you can’t operate easily the device with one hand. They placed the “menu” and “Vol-/+” buttons too far from the main navigation buttons. People with smaller hands won’t be able to reach easily for them without using their second hand to stabilize the player while pressing them. A proof that they didn’t test their player with women and they *assume* that people will use these buttons holding the player vertically, while the new design is horizontal!

Overall, it’s a really good and affordable player though. One of the best in the market IMHO. More in-depth review will be at TuxTops.com in one-two weeks time, after the holidays.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Hens and phones

I was checking the osnews mobile stats this morning and someone with a 3-year old Nokia 3510 phone visited the WAP version of osnews. This phone only has a 96×65 resolution and 4096 colors. I made fun of it to JBQ via IM as I consider the resolution and phone archaic even for WAP. And then I realized. That’s the same cellphone my mother has. That’ll teach me for being arrogant…

On other news the bird flu virus is resistant to Tamiflu it seems (“oh my God, oh my God, we are all going to die”). I remember a specific year when I was a child (about 8 years old) on my rocky mountain village that we witnessed an epidemy on hens. *Every* house on the village has at least 20-30 free range hens each and that year about 80% of the village hens died even if each herd didn’t have direct contact with another herd (houses are far apart from each other). Well, if that was bird flu that caused their death, no human died of it in my village. If there was one person that would die first from it, that would be me. My hobby as a child was to pet hens. I would take them in my arms, show them love, even kiss them! But they never gave me any virus AFAIK. This human-bird flu thingie seems to be kinda new then (“oh my God, oh my God, we are all going to die”).

Pissed off – UPDATED

In addition to some other small problems I’ve been having lately here’s one more: JBQ bought my Christmas present at the Apple Store tonight. Except the fact that he thought he bought something specific (a replacement part for my 12″ Powerbook — that I didn’t really want because I am supposed to get a brand new Powerbook in a month), he bought the wrong thing. I opened the box without reading the label (I was unhappy already receiving this present so I didn’t give it much thought) only to find out that it’s something different than the thing he THOUGHT he bought. It’s a product that I don’t need at all (even less than the product he THOUGHT he bought and kinda needed but didn’t really want). And now, because the box is opened, Apple won’t take it back. We can exchange it, but only for another box of the SAME product (which is the wrong product).

$130 bucks just went to Steve’s pocket tonight just like that. I am left without a fucking Christmas or ‘name day’ present and I am really pissed off atm. I wish he didn’t buy me anything. That would have been better.

UPDATE: JBQ is trying to make the situation better saying that he will get me something else, but I don’t want anything now. I really don’t. 🙁

UPDATE 2: My JBQ was able to give it back to Apple and get a refund. A relief. 🙂

Study: Gorillas go through menopause

Jenny, Shamba, Timbo, Beta and Elaine are zoo gorillas, but they have something in common with millions of women: They have undergone menopause.”

Ah, Jesus. Even the gorillas have period? I wanna be a different animal in my next life. No more an ape!

The end of Firefly/Serenity

And so Josh Whedon said that there won’t be another Firefly/Serenity again. That was it. And that’s fine you know.

What I don’t understand though is how the hell the franchise is able to sell MILLIONS of DVD/VHS copies and yet is not able to be either a successful TV series or a movie. It doesn’t make any financial and logistics sense! Both Serenity the movie and Firefly are on the top10 of DVD sales, and especially the Firefly episodes are up there for almost 3 years now! I think it’s the best selling TV-series-to-DVD ever!

JBQ has a theory: “Serenity/Firefly has very ‘few’ followers, but the ones it has are very dedicated”.

Iran’s President Bans All Western Music

“Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned all Western music from Iran’s state radio and TV stations — an eerie reminder of the 1979 Islamic revolution…”

Booooo! Iranian people, bring fundamendalism down!