- People are used to using forward slashes, especially since they enter in URLs.
- Most people do not even know where the backslash is on the keyboard.
- Mobile devices hide the backslash key several layers deep because it isn't used often in "real life".
Just as I was playing around with my T-Mobile SIM in my AT&T Galaxy S3, I received a text from none other than T-Mobile. I thought they caught me using an unauthorized phone (scary), but in fact, they just wanted to let their customers know they have aquired MetroPCS.
Screenshot and link here: http://t-mo.co/metro-news
I was testing a T-Mobile SIM on my unlocked AT&T Samsung Galaxy S3 (SGH-I747) when I noticed an H+
near the signal bars! I did a speed test, and everything looks like true. HSPA+ on 1900 MHz, people! This mean iPhone users on T-Mobile will automatically see 3G speeds here!
Of course, this also means that unlocked AT&T and world phones that doesn't have HSPA+ on 1700 MHz AWS radios will now get HSPA+ speeds on T-Mobile!
Check it out!
I actually found out how to back up SMS and MMS (along with the multimedia attachments) by accident when trying to troubleshoot another issue. The issue I was having was deleted MMS message threads would come back blank with a date of December 31, 1969. Without going into details, the only way to solve this was to delete the database that housed the SMS and MMS data because it was corrupted.
Using the app History Eraser did not help, nor did clearing the app data/cache, nor cache paration and Dalvik Cache helped with the issue. History Eraser gives you the ability to remove ALL messages (gives you a clean slate), but the problem comes back when I receive an MMS and decide to delete it. It comes back as a blank message with the 1969 date.
Time travel jokes aside, threads from different Android forums came to a dead end. All were dancing around the actual fix, so after reading them all, I got a better understanding of how Android stores it's SMS and MMS data. Know this helped fixed the problem, but also gave me a better way to backup and restore my messages along with the attachments. It's a boon to anyone who is ROM flashing addict.
Without further ado, here's where the magic goes:
In the databases folder, the file "mmssms.db" holds your SMS and MMS text messages, while the app_parts folder contain all of the MMS's attached files (photos, videos, audio, etc).
If you have the Dec 31, 1969 issue like I did, and you don't care to back up your messages, you can delete the "mmssms.db" file, as well as clear the contents out of the app_parts folder. You can then clear your Messenger app's data and cache and reboot your phone. You will have a clean slate. This is because the database file was corrupted and utilities that delete messages just deletes the contents inside of the bad databse file instead of deleting the actual file itself.
After all of this, your Messenger app will recreate the missing "mmssms.db" file from scratch.
Now that you know how to fix the issue, as you can imagine, backing up the same file along with the app_parts folder will allow you to restore your message contents if you ever need to flash a new ROM or move to a different phone.
All of this requires root, of course. You have many options to access these files, but the easiest for me is to use a root file manager such as Root Explorer to navigate to the path and copy & paste the files and folders to my external SD card. When restoring, you may want to take note of the permissions of the original files and folders so you can set them back on the restored copies.
The funny thing is I believe the corrupted database file was caused by using an SMS backup app. It saves your SMS and MMS in an XML file and restores the contents back into the database. The issue may be that MMS backups are not well supported, (they contain attachments and treated like email, unlike SMS). Unfortunately, it's still the best way to back up and restore individual messages with a surgeon's precision. Just make sure not to backup any MMS messages!
Listen up, Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG, or whoever is making the next big Android smartphone. You want to be an instant hit with both mainstream users and enthusiasts? Become both a big hit and a cult classic? Here's a suggestion for you: make a stock Android experience ROM available for download for your phones that you fully support.
This will work better with HTC or Samsung, who already have a huge mainstream market share. It'll work because there are many users who are actually in love with the customized skin. I'm talking about the HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz. Come to think of it, I think HTC may benefit more since there are more fans of Sense than TouchWiz. If that's the case, HTC should also think about going back to removable batteries and expandable storage.
I know every manufacturer of Android phones want to differentiate from every other manufacturer, which is why they make these custom skins. I don't think it's a bad thing necesarily. A lot of non-technical people find them a lot easier to live with. Some even add real features missing from the stock Android experience. However, there are those "minority" who still want a stock Android experience.
Those people will flock towards Nexus phones. However, after the Nexus One, the other Nexus phones didn't really push the boundaries when it came to hardware. The Nexus S came out with a single-core CPU and a 5 MP camera when phones were coming out with dual-cores and 8 MP cameras. The Galaxy Nexus seem more like what the Nexus S should have been, but they still stuck with a 5 MP camera. Neither of the two had expandable storage. But, they were the only phones available with stock Android and (supposedly) frequent Google-sanctioned updates.
While the Nexus line of phones were behind, HTC and Samsung were producing excellent phones with drool-worthy specs. Of course, you do have to give up the stock Android experience for whatever HTC or Samsung decides to put on the phone.
So my suggestion? Why not also produce a fully-functional non-warranty breaking stock Android ROM that's downloadable for those people who want it? It can be updated quicker, and you'll appease both the mainstream and the cult users. It'll be an instant hit! And the kicker? Since you're the only company doing this, you will garner a lot of attention as well as customers. And guess what? If everyone else follows, you'll be a legend since you will be known as the company that started it!
To sweeten the pot, the stock Android experience ROM can be fully open source. This means that the community can improve the OS for your hardware, making it more desirable to have. You may have to make a deal with some hardware vendors (camera, GPS, etc) for making their closed-source drivers available to users, though.
As for proprietary technology such as Beats Audio and S Voice? Well, you can leave those out of the stock Android experience. After all, those who are looking for the stock Android experience don't care for such things anyways. Since it's open source, if they want these extra features, someone in the community can create something like it to fill in those gaps. And those who want it can support those programmers.
So who will be first? Any takers?
I'm sure we all of us has fantasized being in charge of an established company. Maybe you have an idea that could turn them around, or make them better. My ideas seem to keep me up at night, so I decided to write them down. Maybe someone who matters (or their competitors) will pick it up. If so, don't forget to write me a check.
T-Mobile has always been looked at as the underdog, but they are also looked at as the favorite carrier of smartphone enthusiasts. They are more flexible than any of the carriers here in the US, and they are the only other carrier that uses GSM. GSM allows us to swap phones easily due to the use of the standard SIM card. However, their use of the AWS (1700 MHz) band for UTMS and HSPA+ (3G/4G) limits their phone choice. However, they are already changing for the better.
The Ship is Already Turning Around
I am happy to hear they are starting to refarm their 1900 MHz band that's currently being used for GSM for HSPA+. This will allow more unlocked phones on T-Mobile's network, and will also allow the use of Apple's iPhones and iPads at full speeds. My international model of the Samsung Galaxy S II will also work on T-Mobile, as do other global unlocked phones. I can't wait! If you can't make them come to you, why not come to them?
Another benefit to this move? Areas where T-Mobile does not have 3G/4G coverage (1700/2100 MHz HSPA+), but already have EDGE (2G) and voice will now have coverage! That's because the area is already being blanketed with service in the 1900 MHz band for EDGE.
Their primary reason to refarm their 1900 MHz band isn't to make more phones available to them (though I wished it was - they could have done this sooner!). Instead, their motivation is to reclaim their current AWS (1700 MHz) band for a new LTE network. That's good news!
However, I wonder if the rest of the world will deploy LTE using the same band. LTE is a good reason to start with a clean slate - lets collaborate and make everything work! But alas, it doesn't work that way. Every country and region has their own way of assigning or licensing bands. Here in the US, we have the FCC.
Still, T-Mobile USA is heading in the right direction. Of course, I still have some ideas that I would implement if I were in charge of T-Mobile.
Be the Most Open Carrier
As stated before, T-Mobile is the choice of smartphone enthusiasts. This is because T-Mobile as a whole is more accepting of unlocked phones. However, almost every T-Mobile store I go to, their employees are ignorant of cell phone world that's beyond T-Mobile's sandbox.
Unofficial iPhones on T-Mobile may be the only exception, but I've seen many confused looks when I brought in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM international model) which supports the AWS band. Also, the enthusiast customer-base is more interested in contract-free plans because they are the ones who bring in their own phones.
T-Mobile should start training their retail stores to be more accepting and open. If you are number 4 carrier, you should start thinking differently. You should also start marketing yourself as such. There's no shame in being a "dumb pipe". In fact, it's a great selling point.
In advertising, push your contract-free plans more than your contract plans. Make sure to let people know they can bring in any unlocked GSM phones. Educate people on how to unlock popular locked phones. Point them to Newegg, Expansys-USA, and Apple to purchase new unlocked phones that T-Mobile doesn't carry natively. And of course, sell unlocked phones in retail stores. Market them as "unlocked global phones". Hell, make sure to point out it also works on AT&T. If you can't get them on your service, get them with a one-time sale of a phone!
In the spirit of being open, start selling contract-free SIM cards with service at retail stores! Those nice "online exclusive" plans such as the 100 minute voice, unlimited text, unlimited data (5GB high speed) for $30/mo - make them available in stores, too! There's something about instant gratification. It can be a deal maker.
T-Mobile should mirror the experience found overseas. When I was visiting Hong Kong, I was able to walk into any 3HK store (their local carrier) and purchase a plan that made sense for my short visit and just their SIM card. The kicker? They even knew the APN settings for MMS and data. Very few employees in T-Mobile and AT&T know what APN is, nor do they know how to deal with a customer who just wants a SIM card and a short-term plan. Cater to the visitors from abroad, and cater to your US customers who think differently.
Plans that Makes Sense
Play to your strengths. So you say your number of contract customers is down? Why not play up your no-contract plans? With the economy the way it is, people see value in a low-cost monthly bill that's possible due to unsubsidized phones.
They should also use Ting as an inspiration. Ting is a Sprint MNVO that lets you choose to have voice, text, and/or data. They let you mix and match. Also, any unused minutes, text, or data in your chosen tier gets refunded or applied to next month's bill.
There are some people who simply do not talk on the phone much. Heck, I don't even text all that much. I'm a data man who occasionally uses minutes and texts. I was doing fine with 500 minutes, 1000 text, and unlimited data - which is what I used to have with AT&T (and it still cost $85/mo - damn AT&T).
Right now, T-Mobile's offer of 100 minutes, unlimited text, and unlimited data (5GB full speed) for $30/mo works for me. Add the $10 for unlimited mobile-to-mobile and the plan is sweetened. But I'd still like to see the uncoupling of these services. It allows the customer to feel like they have control over their plan and their bill.
While I know this was a long read, I do believe they make sense for both the consumers and the company. It's a good way to bump up to number 3 at least. Their competitor who can steal these ideas and bury T-Mobile would be AT&T. AT&T is the only other GSM carrier in the US. If they become more flexible, push out discounted no-contract plans, and offer unlocked unsubsidized phones. Because they already have 3G/4G (HSPA+) on the "right" bands, unlocked phones from all over the world can already benefit on AT&T's network. However, AT&T has their heads deeper in the sand than T-Mobile and won't acknowledge this. Heck, I've had the Samsung Galaxy S II (international GSM model) on AT&T when the iPhone 5 didn't come out as people hoped for (July 2011).
So if I was in charge of AT&T, I'd do all of this. But since I like the underdog, I'd like to see T-Mobile take the ideas instead.
Yes, I got throttled on T-Mobile, too. I have a 5GB full speed plan, and I was pushing it the first month just to test them out. I hit the limit only one day before the next billing cycle. Unfortuneately, the full speed data came back around mid afternoon and not at midnight of the new billing cycle.
During that time, i found out that if you turn off 3G/4G (HSPA+) on your phone to drop down to EDGE, you actually get faster speeds! Here's my demonstratin of EDGE actually being faster than 3G/4G (HSPA+) when throttled.
I recently changed carriers due to AT&T throttling me at 2 GB ($30 unlimited plan), even though the same price can get me 3 GB of data. That didn't make sense to me, and seems like this is how AT&T is trying to snuff out their remaining grandfathered customers.
Instead of going with a limited data plan, I jumped ship and gone T-Mobile. They have prepaid plans called Monthly 4G. There is one plan that is very interesting for people who don't talk all that much but instead rely on data and text. I'm talking about the $30 plan that only have 100 minutes but gives you unlimited data (5 GB high speed) and text.
If you rely on nights and weekends, this isn't for you. However if you make calls mostly in the day, the math makes sense. You get charged $0.10 a minute beyond the allotted 100 minutes. So if you add the usual $40 for voice (what AT&T and T-Mobile charges for 500 minutes usually) into the bucket, you get an additional 400 minutes. With the 100 minutes you already get, you're Even Steven with the other plans - same price, same minutes (again, with the disadvantage of no free nights and weekends).
And like with AT&T, your unused minutes "roll over". Well, actually, because it's prepaid, what you didn't use for the month stays in the bucket in dollar amounts.
Because of this, even if you talk more than the 100 minutes, you might still end up saving more than the T-Mobile $70 plan that has 500 minutes.
The only time this $30 plan will cost more than the $70 plan is if you talk more than 500 minutes a month. And remember, this plan doesn't have free nights and weekends.
For me it works. Even including day, nights, and weekend minutes, I don't ever go over 500 minutes. I'm usually just under 400 minutes. If I cut it down by using VoIP (such as Google Voice via GrooVe IP), I save even more. Now that I have more data, VoIP is a choice I can easily make.
Just a word of warning though: VoIP (at least with Google Voice via GrooVe IP) doesn't work consistently on the 3G network. Even when both up and down throughput is fast, some people say I am coming through crackling. Sometimes I am clear but a few seconds delayed, making conversations awkward. Sometimes I can hear them, but they can't hear me. An vice versa. Of course sometimes it works great.
Even on WIFI, it can get bad, but the experience is better and more consistent than 3G. Strangely, it can work as well as 3G when you're throttled (tested it on my throttled AT&T SIM card) which is to say hit or miss.
So this plan is essentially a data and text plan for $30. It is a very compelling plan for a niche demographics, but I'm glad it exists.
Thank you, T-Mobile. Good bye, AT&T.
So earlier this week (Janurary 21, 2012), I was warned about aproaching the top 5% of data users when I was only at the 1.5 GB mark. And today (Janurary 25, 2012), I recieved another text informing me that I am now in the top 5% of users, which means I am throttled to EDGE speeds.
I checked the usage on their myAT&T app and online and confirmed that I have only used 2.26 GB this month.
Remember that I am grandfathered into the Unlimited Data plan for $30/month. I am paying more than the current $25/month which only gives you 2 GB of data. So that extra $5/month only gives me 200 MB extra?
Consider this: AT&T just recently changed their data plans again. This time, it's $30/month for 3 GB of data. So I'm paying the same price but getting screwed out of 800 MB? How does this even make sense?
This "top 5%" is BS, and is a cop out. In practice, it lets AT&T throttle at any point they choose. Even if they go by the book, the chilling effect will cause the throttle point to lower using this method of throttling. Customers will be more afraid to use data, and thus the "top 5% of data users" will lower the throttle point further. It's an evil plan that works in AT&T's favor.
1) People will relent and get rid of their Unlimited Plan for a tiered plan, which fulfill AT&T's wish to get rid of this plan. This is much like Sprint and $30 SERO when they didn't allow newer smartphones into the plan. Most customers dropped SERO for other carriers (I left for AT&T and the iPhone). However, they changed their tune when they realized people weren't dropping SERO for another Sprint plan, they were simply leaving (at the time, Sprint didn't have any compelling phones - Palm Pre was their only baby, and the EVO was barely a blip on the map). Sprint decided to give the option to pay an extra $10 for newer 3G smartphones, or an extra $20 for a WIMAX (4G) smartphone. Even though you had to pay, they made sure it was a comparable deal, which it was - $50/month for 500 minutes, unlimited text and data.
2) People will just leave, but will be dinged for early termination fees. I tried to cite breach of terms and conditions, but they said we had ample warning since it was announced on August 2011. However, they said "top 5%", so who knew it was going to be this low? Even so, they said it wouldn't be considered a breach because the fine print even says that AT&T can change the terms without prior consent (or something like that).
So AT&T wins either way. They get your money if you leave or stay. It's BS all around, but in the end, even if you pay the termination fee to ditch AT&T, they ultimately lose out. They will not get a reoccuring payment. They have no incentive to let you leave without a termination fee if you're still under contract.
To AT&T, I say good-bye. It's been fun (and frustrating at times) while it lasted.
Update: I found a few threads on the internet with people who also have the same experience.
There are some people who complain of the Galaxy Nexus's slow responding proximity sensor. I've experienced the same thing. It doesn't matter if you have the CDMA or the GSM model.
The problem is when you hold it up to your ear, the screen is still on for about a second. This causes your face or ear to dial a few numbers before the screen finally turns off. This causes confusion for people on the other line, or cause havoc on automated systems.
However, I found out this wasn't a hardware issue. In fact, it's by design, and it can be remedied in software. I found this out when I used a 3rd party app called GrooVe IP, which is a dialer for Google Voice. It lets you make calls using your Goolge Voice number via the internet (WIFI or 3G). As a dialer, it also turns off the screen when you hold the phone up to your ear.
I noticed I didn't have any of the ear-dialing problems. So to test, I placed the phone on a flat surface, dialed, and put my hand over the proximity sensor. To my surprise, when using the stock dialer, the screen did not turn off. I knew it did, because when I pulled away from my ear, I saw a black screen turning back on. As a hunch, I placed the phone in a vertical position and covered the proximity sensory again. This time, the screen turned off!
What I found out was the stock dialer needed two requirements before it shuts off the screen. First, the phone needs to be in a vertical position (using your acelerometer sensor), then proximity sensor needs to sense your ear or face. The order is important because if you place your hand over the proximity sensor first (the screen does not turn off), then put it in a verticial position, the screen will not turn off.
To prove this is a software and not a hardware issue, I used GrooVe IP and dialed a number. Even on a flat surface, as soon as my had goes near the proximity sensor, the screen turns off right away.
So it isn't an issue of a slow responding proximity sensor (a hardware issue). It's an overly complicated design that resulted in this behavior. I guess it was designed this way so that the screen stays on if you accidentally covered the sensor with your hand while holding it, but that rarely happens. Even the iPhone does not do this.
I hope Google fixes this in the next update. We haven't recieved the Android 4.0.3 update yet. I hope the fix is in the works. However, there aren't a large number of complaints, so it may affect a small amount of people. This might mean that word hasn't reached the Googleplex yet.
Hopefully this changes it. Of course, who reads this dinky little blog?
This is what we were up in arms about when AT&T said they will be warning, then throttling the "top 5%" of high data users. It's a floating number, not a hard one. AT&T can claim that most people in your area are only using, oh lets say 1GB of data. It's a flawed curve.
It just happened to me. I got a text warning me that I am one of the top 5% of data users. I checked the myAT&T app, and even online, and it says I used 1.5 GB of Unlimited. So why did I get warned?
I pay $30 a month for the unlimited plan I was grandfathered in since I bought the iPhone 3GS on launch day. I even "re-upped" by contract when I heard I can keep the same plan when I bought the iPhone 4 on launch day. And now they are changing the terms?
That's not the only issue I have. The other is that I'm paying $30 a month and getting warned at usage that is 500 MB below what a 2 GB capped plan costs ($25 a month). Why? That doesn't make any sense!
I called their customer service rep, and while she was friendly, all she can do is appologize and informed me it was a flawed system. She said it was set at corporate, and she cannot do anything about it. I understand the situation, and appearently, I wasn't the only person who called. As she put it, she "tries to be honest and notblow smoke". I guess you can get some honest reaction when you're super nice to them. However, it didn't solve my issue.
I always figured a reasonable self-imposed cap would be 5 GB, which was the unspoken limit when AT&T didn't have any asterisks on their "Unlimited" data plan. Even so, I try to keep around 3-4 GB of use, which is what I expect paying the extra $5 a month should afford me.
Anyone else getting warned below or at the 2 GB mark? Hit me back here in the comments section.
When Windows debut, it was called that because applications ran in different window panes. You can move them around and have multiple windows on one screen.
So now that Microsoft is using tiles, I don't see any reason why they want to call it Windows. Brand recognition is not a good reason as the reputation of Windows is Luke warm at best.
Time for some thing new. The OS is new, and Microsoft wanted a fresh new start for Windows Phone 7. It's a radical departure from Windows Mobile of the past. So why saddle it with an old name that doesn't invoke excitement?
Microsoft Tiles. I think it has a nice ring to it.
When people say "stock Android experience", they usually think of the Google Nexus phones. Believe it, if you download the source code from Google and compile it yourself, you don't get any of the nice Google apps, such as Android Market, Maps, Gmail, and even Google Search. Even the boot animation isn't the same flashy ones found on the Nexus phones. In fact, it's just a boring green Android logo, which is the same found on the Android SDK Virtual Machine (pictured here).
I was curious about compiling the code myself, since Android is open source. If you're curious of what it looks like, make sure you root and backup your current phone, then flash the correct ROM image.
These are only for the GSM versions of Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. Crespo is the codename for the GSM Nexus S, and Maguro is the codename for the GSM Galaxy Nexus.
Notes: I included Google Apps and Face Unlock as separate download. You will have to disable the built-in Search by going to Manage Apps to enable Google Search.
Warning: Root is not included. Please obtain root from Wug. This will also restore your recovery back to stock. Again, this is a straight AOSP ROM compiled from Google's source.
HTC Nexus One
Google's first foray with their own phone was a spectacular thing. It offered hardware no other Android phone manufacturers were doing. A gigahertz Snapdragon processor, 3.7" display large for it's time), 800x480 resolution (high resolution for it's time), and excellent material choice (thanks, HTC!). However, their next two Nexuses (Nexi?) weren't ground breaking. They just tacked on a few experimental features.
Specs and feature-wise, it didn't feel like it was missing anything. Of course, it did have a problem with multi-touch, which was never fixed because it was a hardware limitation. Here are some sites that reported on this. You can also search for videos demonstrating this problem on YouTube. Oh, and lets not forget issue with the constant switching between Edge and 3G reported at places like here and followed up at places like here. Spoiler alert: Google just gave up.
Samsung Nexus S
The Nexus S was a single core Hummingbird SoC, which is fast, but it came at a time where dual-core SoCs already exists. They took away expandable storage. The other stuff (Super AMOLED display, 5 MP camera) were considered standard fare, since the Galaxy S was already on the market.
Of course, Google added NFC, which is the experimental sauce I was talking about earlier. The curved glass was more of a gimmick, though. It's a nice touch, but it doesn't really add any new functions.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Next was the Galaxy Nexus. First off, the name is dumb. Because Samsung already has a line of Galaxy phones, this just causes confusion. Every time I hear "Galaxy Nexus", I keep thinking "Galaxy S" or "Galaxy S II". Every time I want to say "Galaxy Nexus" I end up saying "Galaxy S" which confuses people and myself.
Name aside, it also wasn't very ground breaking compared to other phones in the market (especially when compared to the Galaxy S II). It's got a better screen (720p 16:9 display), even though it's a PenTile matrix. They also did away with buttons on the front, instead putting them on the screen itself. Other than that, nothing else is really new to us. And yes, NFC decided to stick around on the Nexus Galaxy.
It's now a dual-core SoC, but quad-cores are coming now (they should have waited to add this in, honestly). The camera is still 5MP, but what's worse is that it's not as good as the 5MP sensor Apple used on their iPhone 4. To add insult to injury, Samsung already has an excellent 8MP sensor that's used by their 2nd gen Galaxy phones (Galaxy S II, Inspire, Galaxy Note, etc). Of course it can capture 1080p video now - that's just a matter of processing power, not the camera sensor.
There's still no expandable storage, which is a bummer. You're stuck with the 16 GB internal storage that isn't even accessable on a computer or car stereo as a USB mass storage device.
So What's Missing Now?
The Galaxy Nexus is the first Nexus I actually bought. After using it for some time now, I have to say I like it. However, I still LOVE LOVE LOVE my Galaxy S II. Aside from display, NFC, and stock Android ICS envy, the Galaxy S II has everything the Galaxy Nexus have and more!
To round out the Galaxy Nexus, I would have liked to see expandable storage (micro SD, please!) and better camera (use the Galaxy S II's sensor, please!).
I find those as major parts of today's smartphone experience! The storage issue is a huge part of Android experience especially (Titanium Backup and ROM flashing addicts).
Of course, the Galaxy S II has it's list of shortcomings as well, but it's mostly software-related (things that stock Android ICS won't have).
The search for the 100% perfect phone still eludes me. I guess it would only be perfect if I made one myself. And even then, it'd only be "perfect" for me, myself, and I.
After using turntable.fm for a while, I decided to start my own room! Join me in the New Alternative room!
If you haven't heard of Turntable.fm, it's a site where you can be one of five DJs. You add music to your playlist (there are already lots of songs to choose from within Turntable's own library!). Each DJ gets to play a song, then it goes to the next, so each DJ will get a turn to play.
You can be a DJ to play your music, or just be part of the audience and leave your browser up just to listen to the crowd-sourced playlist! It's an interesting idea - people created playlist instead of an algorithm such as Pandora and Slacker.
I've been listening and DJing in the 90s Alternative room for a while now, but have decided I want to listen to more than just 90s.
For now, I don't have any hard-set rules, but please be curtious. For example, please don't be away from the keyboard if you're DJing for long periods of time. You're taking up a seat in the DJ booth that others can use, and to do this just to listen to your own playlist is plain selfish. Also, please stick to the genre (no rap, country, or R&B). I left it pretty wide open for you. "New Alternative" is just a name. My favorite radio station in my city before it shut down was called "The New Rock Alternative". So I decided to just go with "New Alternative" for mine. This means from 80s to today, Alternative Rock, Industrial, and Indie Rock.
Let me know what you think! And also, start DJing or listen in!
I was a Go Daddy customer, but not anymore. Why? Because Go Daddy is a strong supporter for SOPA. In a nutshell, SOPA will allow both the RIAA and MPAA take down a site by messing with the DNS if it even suspect there is pirated or copyright infringing content on the site without due process. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) may sound good for the non-techies because they don't realize how it would actually work.
The problem is that we've seen instances where takedown notices were given and executed even when there were no infringing content at all! Without due process (actually needing to take you to court to prove you were in the wrong), your website can get canned, which means you're out of business, just like THAT.
Either way, you can read more about SOPA at Wikipedia.
Of course, just a mere 30 minutes ago as of this writing, Go Daddy decided to back away from their stance. Unfortunately, their previously strongly worded statement about why they supported SOPA leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Apparently, Wikipedia, who used Go Daddy, already switched. So have I.
The way I see it, the only reason why Go Daddy changed stance is because of the boycott. I'm sure they still feel strongly about SOPA. What does this mean? It means they're collective mentality is still not in the right place.
If you are using Go Daddy for your domains, consider Go Daddy's stance on SOPA.
Are you sick of having to install Adobe's DLM (Download Manager) just to install their free viewers? Why do we need a download manager for small applets and plugins? Worse yet, if you are behind a firewall or proxy, you the Adobe DLM may not even download the actual installation files you need!
Here are direct links to the full standalone installation files for Adobe Flash and Reader.
Adobe Flash Player
Link seems to point to latest version no matter the updates. Currently at version 11 as of this writing.
Link is hard-coded to link to newest version as of this writing (Adobe Reader X v10.1.1).
Here is Adobe's FTP folder that contains ALL versions of Adobe Reader for all platforms. Just navigate to the version you want to download.
Hope this is helpful to someone out there.
Adobe has a page that's specifically for distributing Adobe Flash. They are standalone installers, as well as MSI packages for those who would like to deploy Flash in their organization via SCCM or WSUS.
If you would like an MSI file for Adobe Reader, you can follow this blog by MooreMN to extract the MSI package from the EXE installer.
Apple has prided itself in making things easy to use, wonderful, and magical. The Macintosh was herald as their first. After all, before the Macintosh, there was no graphical user interface or a mouse (at least not something you can buy at the store - just for those who will cry "Xerox"). It lost to Microsoft and their Windows 3.0, and then Windows 95 since it was left to languish without Jobs at the helm.
In the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Issacson, Steve had asked Mark Markkula for advice on to make Apple a company that will endure the test of time. Mark told Steve that it would have to be able to reinvent itself. He gave Hewlett Packard as an example, where it started as an electronics instrument company, then a calculator company, and now they are in personal computers. (I should also mention Nintendo used to make playing cards. Look at them now!). Mark said Steve should reinvent Apple as a consumer product company.
Steve took his advice. Where Apple used to be just a computer company, they broke out of this mold by making the now iconic iPod. From there, they went on to make other things that were decidedly not traditional PCs and laptops, such as the iPhone and iPad.
They are wonderful and delightful to use. There is still one product line that Apple need to pay more attention and that is their Macs.
What's Wrong with The Mac?
"What?" you say? Hear me out.
Apple, after you create and market the next best thing in television (oh, we're already anticipating this), maybe you should start focusing on the Mac. Specifically the OS.
Don't get me wrong. Lion is a good step up from Snow Leopard. What I like is how they implemented the multitouch trackpad in a way that it feels natural and iOS-like. It's hard to make a desktop-based OS feel that personal, responsive, and agile. I still don't get the iOS home screen launcher, though. But I do love after getting used to it) how the "realistic" scrolling gesture feels (after getting used to it), as well as the way Safari now takes multitouch gestures further. The way you can use two fingers and flip pages back and forward (I wish they would implement this in iOS's Safari). The scrolling of pages has a bounce when you reach the top or bottom, and zooming in with pinch is smooth like on the iOS.
I like the way they implemented Spaces, too. Not many people used Spaces before. I sure didn't. But now, with simple gestures to flip between the different Spaces paired with Mission Control, I use Spaces every chance I get. It's like having multiple monitors without actual physical monitors!
But that's just adding spit and polish to an old interface. It needs to be revived. Rejuiced. Renovated. It needs to be reinvented.
I'll Tell You What's Wrong
"What so wrong?" you ask? I hate Finder. I also hate windows management. I hate their network resource management, namely accessing shared folders and printers. I hate that there is no central application management for uninstalling apps that insist on actually "installing" itself instead of just being content with being dragged and dropped into the Applications folder.
I've given the Mac OS a chance to convince me, but it still hasn't. How much of a commitment did I give? I spent $1000 for a late 2009 13" white MacBook (without the multitouch) as a toy. iMovie sucked me in, but I hated the trackpad. Seeing that the trackpad was a huge experience I was missing out, I sold the MacBook a little over year later for a real one - an early 2011 15" MacBook Pro. The one with Thunderbolt. The one that's been spec'd out to cost over $3000 with Apple Care. Don't tell me I didn't give them a chance. With that kind of commitment, I was ready to give myself completely to Mac OS X like I already did with iOS.
As stated before, there is a lot to love about Mac OS X, especially Lion. However, there are still things I just hate.
File management is horrendous. Finding out file details in one view shouldn't be this difficult! Windows Explorer allows a view where you can see the full filename, file size, date created and modified, and other necessary info all in one shot without needing to view them in Properties window. Why can't Finder?
After spending so much time with Mac OS X, I fell in love with the quick preview (hit space key on a file). It's not perfect (hit space key on a folder and I would expect to see a sample list of files in that folder), and a bit quirky, but it's effective and productive. However, hitting the enter key and not actually opening the file or app seems unintuitive. Instead it allows you to rename the file! Windows, Ubuntu, and other OSes have trained users to expect the Enter key to open or run whatever is highlighted. Not with Mac. After a year, I'm still not used to this.
Being different for the sake of being different isn't the way to go. If they can add a simple double pane view with a folder tree on the left, and a files/folders list on the right, I'd be happy. But as they have it now, I find it hard to browser files and folders quickly.
Multiple Finder windows are also hard to manage, especially when they aren't minimized. That leads me to...
When there are multiple windows open and on screen somewhere, it's hard to switch between the two easily. It's not just switching between the two, but interacting with the two, such as dragging and dropping items from one window to another.
This is why Windows 7 was the first OS that I actually had personal connection to. Yes, I'll say it. I fell in love with Windows 7. I haven't said anything like that about software! Apple made me feel that way with the iPod Touch (my first Apple product), which was both hardware and software. But Windows 7 was the first software that made me feel that way. And it was a Microsoft product. On a PC.
The Aero Snap feature is simply awesome. You move the window to the left, and another to the right, and they snap into place and give you side-by-side view of two apps. Double-click on the top of the window, and it will expand vertically, but leave the horizontal alone. And of course, double-click on the title bar itself, and the window will just maximize and take up the entire desktop. You rarely have to resize the window manually.
And that's the problem. In Mac OS X, I constantly have to fiddle with the window size manually. I need the edge snap feature badly, at LEAST. Traditional "full screen" (maximizing) isn't there. Instead, Apple decided to go full bore and make "full screen" truly full screen, ala iOS style. That's a nice option, but can you make it just that? An option. Sometimes I want an app to take up the full space of the desktop, but leave the essentials alone. By essentials, I mean access to the Dock and menu bars.
The old Expose on Snow Leopard was decent. I actually liked it. I wish Windows had it. But the new Mission Control was supposed to be better. It grouped similar windows together. I hate that. It actually made finding a single window harder when that window is a part of a group.
Windows has a taskbar that shows icons for every application that is running. This makes it easy to switch windows, even if it's hiding behind another window. On Mac OS X, only minimized windows show up on the Dock. Opened apps that aren't minimized only show up as an icon with a dot under it. What's worse? If you think you closed an app, you didn't. It will still be on the Dock with a dot underneath it.
The Dock itself is a problem. Because it's just floating there, I find that it gets in the way when I resize the app window to take up most of the desktop space. In Windows, when I maximize, it takes up the entire desktop space, but leaves the taskbar anchored at the bottom. The Dock needs this as well.
For now, I made the Dock auto-hide. However, it's still annoying when I move my mouse close to the bottom, and it pops up, even though all I wanted to do was to access buttons or items at the bottom of the app window, not the Dock.
It's a visual cluster F***. There is no simplicity. There is no elegance. I actually find Windows 7's taskbar more elegant and simple. And useful.
Oh, and that menu bar that keeps changing depending on the window in focus. That's annoying, too. Again, I've dedicated myself more than a year to the Mac OS X, so it's not just me getting used to the ways of Windows.
Although that thought entered my mind, too. If Apple wanted to gain market share, they need to steer existing Windows users to them. The population of computer virgins (that is, people who never used a computer before, not nerds who never scored) is shrinking. To gain market share, you now have to steal users away from other platforms! So don't design an OS that alienate Windows users!
Which leads me to...
Windows Network Resource Management
Face it. Most networks are dominated by Windows computers. My main file server at home is Windows-based. Even Linux-based shares like NAS boxes use Samba (a way to allow Linux to share files and folders that emulates Windows shares).
The Mac does too. However, it's not very elegant. I had to drop down a menu to type in "smb://fileserver" and add it to a list. Every time I want to access any shared folders and files, I have to navigate to that list. "Go, Connect to server" is the path you'd have to take.
Windows has a place for servers with shared resources just show up! Why can't we have that? Even Ubuntu is easier to browse the network.
And shared printers? Even following the steps provided by Apple's own web page, I can't get it to work.
Why Don't You Go Back to Windows?
The Mac faithful will probably tell me to just go back to Windows, or that I don't get it. To those blind to their faith, I say "it's you who don't get it". Adding those features to make Mac OS X more complete and more usable for Windows-oriented users won't make Mac less Mac-like. As some of my friends would say, "it won't bother you none!”
The truth is, Mac OS X is very flashy, and I like that. It panders to the normal users with great fan service. The overscroll bounce, the zooming, the multitouch gestures. They're great! But doing anything more than just surfing the net, or more than one thing at a time, and I find it frustrating.
There are other oddities, too. The reliance on iPhotos and iTunes for photo and music management is one of them. There are photos and other JPGs I want to incorporate into my movie, but iMovie seem to only want to see resources available only if they were imported to one of its media cataloging siblings. What if I don't want to import the picture assets into my own personal photo album? What if I don't want these sound effect files mixed in with my music collection?
I can drag and drop them from folders, but they aren't really integrated into iMovie.
The largest barrier for me is the windows management and file management. They are preventing me from doing things I need to do. I do like the fan service. I really like the spit and polish. Now, I want substance behind it all.