Archive for August 10th, 2009

I _HATE_ Apple

So today I got an unlocked iPhone 3Gs, from a Canadian store (that was for a unit agreed to get acquired a month ago btw, before my decision to stop my Apple purchases a week ago). It came with firmware 3.0.0, and I went ahead to upgrade to 3.0.1. I wasn’t afraid of activation, since my iPhone 2G works just fine with my AT&T prepaid SIM card (the voice part at least). So when I got it, I simply put it on iTunes to update its firmware, and when it would ask me for a SIM card, I would just put in my AT&T one.

Well, things didn’t exactly went as planned. The iPhone 3Gs got activated all by itself, and I was wondering why. Well, when opened the SIM tray there was another fucking SIM card in there!!!! The Canadian store forgot their FIDO sim card in! The Fido sim card didn’t work in the US, so I really thought that this was just a bare iPhone that I received. But it wasn’t. The Fido SIM activated the iPhone with the Fido network, with a SIM that doesn’t really work anyway (at least in the US)!

So I go ahead, and I do what I have to do: jailbreak and unlock the phone. The jailbreakiness and unlockiness of the 3.0.1 firmware worked, and my AT&T card was recognized. So now, I thought, if I restore the firmware again, and not keep any data, it should default back to the AT&T network and won’t be locked to Fido anymore. I thought, I would be able to use the iPhone 3Gs as I do with my iPhone 2G, which doesn’t require special activation as long as I am on AT&T.

But this is not how it works.

Once you have activated an iPhone ONCE, then the iPhone’s “default clean slate” is not “clean slate” anymore. It’s now FOREVER locked to the FIDO network, and it now requires jailbreak/unlock EVERY TIME you upgrade the firmware. If the Canadian store had not made the mistake to put the FIDO sim in there, then I would have activated the iPhone with the AT&T sim card for the first time, and so it would be “locked” to the AT&T network instead (which is what I wanted). Every time there would be a new OS version out, it would just work.

Don’t get confused. There are TWO kinds of SIM locks on the iPhone. One kind is the “easy” lock, which is what the hackers are hacking at, the one that lets you use any SIM. But the other lock, is the REAL fucking lock, which is NOT MODIFIABLE once you have activated the iPhone with a certain network. That lock is much more lower level, and part of the baseband/radio firmware, and not the OS firmware. And that’s a part that no hacking tool can touch, except Apple’s own tools that are not freely available (unless you know of one that can really flash the actual baseband firmware of the iPhone, and not the OS part).

So basically, between the stupidity of the Canadian store to leave their fucking SIM into the phone, the stupidity of Apple to lock things in such a way, and my laziness to put my SIM in the phone immediately after arriving instead of waiting for the firmware upgrade, I am now left with an iPhone that can only be used with the jailbreak/unlock combination. Each time Apple releases a new firmware, I have to jailbreak/unlock the phone manually, and honestly, I rather not since I shouldn’t have to (since I use an AT&T sim, and AT&T doesn’t really mind). I am simply against jailbreaking because it’s just not safe. But now, I have to fucking use it in order to be able to use the phone. And no, don’t suggest to me to buy an iPhone with a full AT&T contract, because I simply don’t need such a contract — I barely do 5 phone calls a month. But I still want an iPhone, and I still want my prepaid sim. This should have worked.

I put the biggest blame on this situation on Apple, because locking phones this way SUCKS GOATS. I hope someone taps Apple’s ass, to feel how good a locking really is. Apple is THE ONLY company that could have bring REVOLUTION to the industry by saying “no” to the carrier-manufacturer phone locks. Apple is successful and big enough to give the FINGER to any carrier that demands locked phones (at least starting with iPhone 3G). But noooooo! Apple WANTS its EXTRA BUCK that it gets from the carriers by locking the phones like that. So instead of bringing revolution, Apple brings me headaches instead.

The filmic look with a digicam

I used the HV20 (60i) and the Canon SX200 IS digicam (30p) yesterday for the wedding I shot. The big surprise came to me from the SX200 IS (review). While it has lower resolution than the HV20, the overall look it produced was so amazingly filmic (low contrast, low saturation) that I still can’t believe that I can get that look with a $300 camera!

Of course, the camera’s color settings were tweaked, as mentioned in the picture above. With these settings, the picture looked like watching a real film movie! Even when tried to turn all these color settings OFF on the HV20 (and enabling Cinemode), the picture produced was still not as cinematic as the SX200’s! People were still “red-ish”, while with the SX200 I would get the beautiful yellow-ish cast on skin tones, as on most films! The groom’s suit is all contrasty-black with no details on the HV20 footage, while on the SX200 footage you can perfectly see details/folds on the suit — like a film would do so!

My JBQ says that the image produced by the HV20 is more accurate (his Canon 5D also produced a similar contrasty look like the HV20’s), but the reality is, who cares, when the SX200 IS looks so much better to my eyes? Like 24p, the film look is a habitual thing that people get used to and have associated it subconsciously to movies. I wish I could show you some better frame grabs to compare the HV20’s and the SX200’s skin tones and contrast (in order to see what I mean), but I have no image releases, so these pics should suffice.

Of course, the SX200 has its problems: it sucks under low light, it’s full of grain/noise. The kind of good footage it can shoot can only be produced outdoors, or with very strong artificial lights. And it has no manual controls to speak off other than color manipulation, exposure compensation/locking, manual white balance, and manual focus/locking (few controls compared to a good camcorder, but more video controls compared to other cheap digicams). But if your footage is shot outdoors, and you tweak its settings as shown above, you will get amazing results.

And judging from this example, the SX200 IS shoots more cinematic footage than the 5D Mark-II (image/color look-wise, not depth-of-field and detail-wise of course). For some weird reason, most of the 5D footage I have seen, is super-contrasty, even when tweaked down.