Archive for June, 2007

CNN.com

CNN.com updated their site today. I can’t run their videos on any of my browsers under XP (IE, Firefox, Safari), except Opera, which is the only one that seems to work. Anyone else with the same problem? IE 7 asked me to install an ActiveX control (was that really needed?), I did, but still no cake (even after modifying the security zone for IE).

The iPhone

I like it. I think that it’s a really nice device and when (and if) the unlocked 3G versions starts to rolling on, it will be even more successful than it already is. I plan to buy an (if/when) unlocked one, when v2.0 comes out that might support third party apps.

Of course, there are things to be added in the next major revision of the OS, like a file picker, cut/copy/paste support, send files via bluetooth, A2DP/AVRCP/PAN/LAP (no need to have modem support for laptops, the PAN solution is cleaner), Flash, speed dial (?), UPnP, internet radio, iChat AV, sound recorder, video recording, Tasks and maybe T6 support like this one.

Funnily, there are no games included in the iPhone, not a single simple finger-friendly game. IMO, they should ship with one or two. Java games on other cellphones are very popular, which shows that people would indeed like to play games when they have nothing better to do or when they are awaiting for a bus/train. I don’t believe that Apple should port J2ME on the iPhone, because 99% of these Java games are not only not designed for touchscreens, but they won’t operate on a non-buttoned environment. I have touchscreen phones myself (from many different companies), and the vast majority of the games don’t work, and the situation would be even worse in the iPhone that has even fewer control buttons and higher resolution screen. New kinds of games will have to be designed for the iPhone — in addition to a hardware accessory that plugs on the bottom and adds the necessary buttons.

Regarding the hardware, a better headphone jack placement, removable battery, GPS, video-call camera, flashlight for the back camera, and maybe a move to a standard mini-USB connector and an FM radio would be nice too.

Regarding MMS, I don’t think that Apple will ever add the feature. You see, email is a better solution, and MMS was always seen like “mobile email”. Thing is, Apple does not want to do anything “mobile”, which would mean “crippled”. Apple will try to kill MMS — and that’s a good thing. Not only because the MMS implementations suck throughout carriers, but by eliminating it, you eliminate one more thing that a carrier can drag you down with.

Overall, I am impressed so far with the iPhone, for a v1.0 product. I will have my bar higher for v2.0 though.

Innovation is difficult

Here is a very nicely done short movie. Apparently, they were accused of plagiarism, because an older Twilight Zone episode had a similar plot. I wrote in the past how difficult it is to create “new” things anymore. And it’s going to be even more difficult as time goes by.

I hate software – and people

Gnothi seauton. Truth is, I don’t fit in with most people, and I don’t agree with most of them either. In fact, I can clearly see myself as a 70-year old woman in the future whom the neighbors would perceive as an “old, crazy witch”.

Here is just one of the reasons why I don’t quite like humans. Because if they own something, if they made a commitment to something, they force themselves to think that it was the right choice. They make themselves believe that what they have works well, even if it doesn’t. They find comfort in a LIE, because they can’t live with themselves of doing a “mistake” for purchasing a not-that-perfect product.

Maybe I am a perfectionist. Maybe my bar is too high. Or, maybe I am just not a fucking drone. Whatever the reason, I can’t stand how most people would defend their software/hardware. It makes me sick. It’s the main reason why older OSNews readers couldn’t stand my review articles: because I would find lots of (obvious) flaws on their beloved software and they wouldn’t want their perfect little Utopian world to come to pieces.

Yes, my bar is always high. I accept nothing less than a near-perfect product. iMovie and the iPod do come close to perfection although I wouldn’t give my life to protect their name and integrity like others do. Yes, Outlook Express is close too in fact, despite its anti-hype. But the Sony Vegas Movie Studio 7a Platinum SUCKS. Version 8 is much better.

Stupidity

How more stupidity can exist in the world? Here you have a person robbing another person THINKING that he got an iphone (he didn’t), another guy snagging an iphone in front of a live TV camera, and the MAYOR of a big city waiting in line for hours to get a bloody iPhone — like he didn’t have anything better to do.

Where the hell is the world coming in to?

A drone

Dear Santa Claus,
for Christmas I would like my own drone. I can give up my 15 cellphones as an exchange if necessary.

Love,
Eugenia

Goodies

A Sony Ericsson P990i arrived today, expect a review on OSNews soon. It runs UIQ 3.0 but it will be tested with a firmware version released just a few days ago.

I also got a pair of Logitech A2DP Bluetooth stereo headphones and a 2 GB Mstick Micro M2. Only to find out that the P990i actually only accepts Mstick Duo Pro. :P

Update: What do you know… The M2 comes with a DuoPro adapter…

A new kind of piracy

Our discussion about web-based TV series went well over at DVXUser. Recently YouTube announced some more sharing-revenue deals while I did a bit more research on Revver, which has been paying directors since last October for 40-20-40 on the videos that include their commercials. That’s 40% for the director, 40% for Revver and 20% for any sharer who links to the video.

Eventually, most of the biggest video sharing sites will pay for content, but there is a new problem arising. For example, if you are having an exclusive deal with Revver, or if you only personally manage the top-5 video sharing sites, there are always the people who will rip your video and post it elsewhere without the appropriate code. For example, if a user rips your Revver video and posts it on YouTube (even if it might already exist on YouTube or not), neither you or Revver will get the ads revenue. Eventually, because revenue sharing will be a big thing in the next few years, individuals will be hunted down not by the MPAA or the RIAA, but from other, fellow internet users and maybe the video sharing sites themselves.

The only way to go around the problem is to stay on top of your game for the top-10 video sharing sites and sell DVDs and higher-res versions of your videos on your own site (although Torrent will have a toll too on your newfound business if you are successful). It’s gonna hurt, and for the first time kids will feel how the MPAA feels right now. Nevertheless, you will need about 9 million views (on several different video sharing sites) to make about $50,000, and that’s not an easy feat.

Astronomy observatories and software

We visited Mt Hamilton east of San Jose yesterday. There are at least 4-5 big telescopes/observatories at the peak, belonging to the Berkeley university. Cool stuff.

I shot a bit of handheld video there, and when I came back home I took a shot with the Sony Vegas 7a Platinum. Well, it’s a pain in the ass to use that application, I am just not happy with the amount of polish it has (or lack of). For example, it won’t scene-detect HDV (while it does for plain DV, I had to use an external tool after the fact), its external capture app won’t do HDV at all, if you don’t specifically tell it to use transitions there is this ugly black screen between the shots (you can see those in my rough-cut video below), while the application uses lots of RAM when you simply add more media files on the Media placeholder (I am NOT talking about the timeline, that’s extra RAM), and finally, it is extremely slow playing back HDV when previewing (even in low quality setting — it is the only NLE in the market that is so slow previewing HDV video).

And when exporting, its dialogs are stupidly terrible. I have widescreen video, I want to export as widescreen in low-res, but it won’t let me have a custom resolution and set the anamorphic bit or not, it HAS to be QVGA anamorphic, which plays well on WMP/VLC, but other players and YouTube fuck it up and they render my 1.333-proportioned video as 1.000 (so it looked out of proportion on YouTube before I re-uploaded with the new format). It is an utterly ridiculous situation and re-enforces my opinion as to how much software sucks in general (update: I tried to force letterboxing as it won’t let me pick a custom resolution and that trick worked better, although their usability designers should definitely look at QuickTimePro’s UI for letterboxing).

iMovie, while it only has 1/20 of the features of Vegas, it is a joy to use (for its limited feature-set that is). Its UI just MAKES SENSE and does what the user EXPECTS (including the export settings). And no, the Vegas problems are not because of the too many features or because it was supposed to be a “pro” app, it is because it’s written and managed by idiots with no vision and without a sense of what’s LOGICAL. It is an incoherent app, it’s as simple as that. I have literally spent only 1 hour with Vegas using it since I installed it on Thursday (and I didn’t even write about my adventures on their support site trying to find updates), and I found (and confirmed by googling) what, 4-5 usability/technical problems already? How pathetic is that?

I am telling you people: software sucks. And when the software engineers don’t actually suck, the usability engineers do. Either way, most of the time users are screwed.

Global warming

We watched “An Inconvenient Truth” tonight. Highly recommended for every human being on this planet. If you haven’t watched it and its update as found on the DVD release yet, find a way to do so — even if that might mean that you will have to pirate it.