Goodbye Steve

Thank you for a hell of a ride. The World won’t be the same without you.

 

 

Apple releases iPhone 4S, World cries in pain!



I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror… I feared something terrible has happened. I launched my browser to find out that it were just Apple fan boys crying hysterically about the new iPhone 4S. The bitching started yesterday and is yet to end…

So Apple released the new iPhone 5 iPhones 4S and it doesn’t make popcorn, but hey, you can still be a happy camper and send a postcard to your granny! Or you can talk to it on those lonely nights!

Now, now, enough of this poison, let’s get constructive. Apple releases a new smartphone, a great smartphone but since it doesn’t live up to the ridiculous rumor mill the Internet has been feeding, most of the fan boys go on a tantrum… most of them, because others go the opposite way and start saying that the new iPhone 4S is the pinnacle of innovation and this is where I stop them with a shovel to the face!

The iPhone 4S is an awesome piece of engineering, it builds on the last model, upgrading it to what might be considered the standards, the problem is, that those standards this time were not set by Apple, but by other companies like Google and Samsung. Yes whining fan boy, the Android folk stole your spotlight. There’s not a single piece of innovation on this model, nothing you can’t find on actual Android phones. Wanna bet?

  • Siri – Android has voice commands for a butt load of years, Google voice app comes in every Android phone and it’s even available for iOS. My Samsung Galaxy S II even comes with an extra layer, powered by Vlingo, which, by the way, has an app for most smartphones available including your old iPhone 4 🙂 Is it good? I don’t know, I don’t speak to my phone… and I bet you won’t either.
  • Dual Core CPU – Check…
  • 1080p video / 8Mpx Cam – Check and Check… Oh and a 2Mpx front cam 😀
  • Notification system – Really? Are you going there? Android has a notification system like, since… always. Copied by Apple byw.
  • Reminders – Yippeee! A Todo app included in the OS! Thanks Apple for screwing the life of the 100000 developers who have todo apps in the App Store! Oh, yeah, Android has them too. A dime a dozen!
  • FindMyFriend – Oh come on! This one is plain dirty! Gowalla and Foursquare are two of the most popular apps in the iOS ecosystem, developed for iOS from day one. And Apple does what? Stabs them in the back and include a location app in the OS! Great move Apple, competing with the devs that made your OS popular! And yes… Android has them too… and Google Latitude.
  • Twitter integration – That one is cool! Let me know when all the apps on your phone integrate with the OS…
  • iTunes in the cloud – Google Music
  • Photo Stream – Picassa Web Albums
  • Documents in the Cloud – Google Docs
Want me to go on? Sorry, I don’t have the time. My advice to the fan boys? Stop bitching and bite the bullet! iPhone 4S is a great phone, the best Apple did so far, but be real about it and stop saying that it’s the best smartphone on the market, because it isn’t.
Apple is now up to the market standards, maybe innovation comes with the iPhone 5, but for now, enjoy the upgrade.

 

 

 

 

Bye bye iOS, Hello Android

Yes, I’ve gone Android.

For those who know me that might come as a shock. I’m a big Apple fan, I have a Mac since 2007 and never thought of going back to Linux or Windows (until recently with Lion’s release, but those are another 2 cents).

I got an iPhone 3G when they were released in Portugal. The first year using it was awesome, the second was normal, after that Apple turned my phone into a zombie. The last iOS 4 update, 4.2, left my phone crippled, unusable, with most of the new features left out. Still I used it for what I could… email, Twitter, music and a few apps.

Everything else was a bloated and dreadful experience, even the mere act of typing something in the keyboard was a torture, it literally froze the keys for a few seconds. My 3G became a pale shadow of the awesome phone it once was.

I needed a new device, it didn’t have to be a phone, I could perfectly live my daily digital life with a tablet, email, Facebook, Twitter, a good browser, WordPress support and I was set… but there was a problem: I was sick of iOS.

For me, as an iOS user, I got almost no new features for my 3G with iOS 4. So sticking with the same OS for 3 years in a row, can get you pretty tired of it.

I’m up to date on iOS info and rumors. I know what’s new for iOS 5 and I’ve played with a few iPhones 4… and even with all the new bells n’ whistles, I wasn’t buying it. Plus, with a new iPhone 4S or 5 or whatever Apple is going to release in October, it was more of the same.

So, as an Apple fan, I considered buying an iPad, same eco-system but with a few differences here and there, enough to give me something usable and new to explore. I’ve played with a few iPads from friends and co-workers. Hell of a machine. It was on my buy list, until Android crept in…

 

Continue reading “Bye bye iOS, Hello Android”

My Mac Died…

… but it’s now back from the grave.

I have a Macbook Pro built in 2008. It was the last “Discrete” model made before the “Unibody” model. Although it’s a great machine, the graphics card was the cursed Nvidia Geforce 8600M GT. Basically, I hade a time bomb inside my Mac, and by Murphy’s law, it should detonate on the worse day possible. Well, it did blow up. On the morning of last monday (27/12) may Mac screen was all garbled up, full of artifacts and no image on my second monitor. Reboot, battery off, resets, nothing worked. Powered up my netbook and surfed the web to find out that the behavior was consistent with the nvidia problem.

A few friends recommended me to take the Mac to Tou Aqui Tou Aí, an Apple Certified Assistance Center in Lisbon, but since I work on the other side of the Tejo, I decided to ask for a pickup at my place. 15 minutes after I pressed the submit button on the form, I received a call from them, scheduling the pickup for the same day. The next day I had the diagnostic confirmed and the hope that I might still be getting my Mac back this year, depending on when they would get a new logic board from Holland.

Yesterday I had the confirmation, by phone, that my Mac was ready and on my way. Today I got my mac, at 10:00, looking like sparkling new (yes, they cleaned it 😀 ) and at zero cost. Even the pickup and delivery was free of charge.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is SERVICE. It’s how every company should work and treat it’s clients.

Obrigado Tou Aqui Tou Aí

Life Saver – Upload iPhone Carrier Settings

If you want to upload modified or standard operator carrier settings to your iPhone, just type this in your terminal:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes carrier-testing -bool TRUE

This way you can upload the settings via iTunes without having to install the previous beta versions that allowed this by default.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – Guns of Marketing

Metal Gear Solid 4 Pal Cover

It’s not a secret that the Metal Gear Solid series is one of my favorites videogame series, I’ve even mentioned it here, in this blog a few times.

Recently, Konami and Kojima released worldwide the fourth (actually there’re are a few side stories / games in the series, but this is the 4th in the canon of MGS) and probably the most expected and desired game in the series. This is the first MGS for a new generation console, in this case, an exclusive for the PS3.

Kojima had been teasing us for the past two years with trailers and screenshots of MGS4, and even last month the question among gamers still was “Is it as good as it looks?”. Well, the answer is: it’s even better! If you’re not a fan or know the series, this is not a regular game where you’re presented to a universe and play along. MGS4 is the final chapter of an epic story and it demands that you know all that’s behind. You get to know old characters and new ones as well, you can play the entire game without knowing who Solid Snake is, but MGS4 is like a movie that’s part of a trilogy, if you didn’t watch the other episodes you won’t enjoy it properly. You get some very well placed flashbacks during the game to help understand the plot, but prior knowledge of the series is advised.

That said, let me tell you that MGS4 is definitely the game of the year for the PS3. The graphics are superb, the full Dolby Digital sound is breathtaking and the plot, well… as I said, it’s the best this game can offer. The gameplay is good but with a high learning curve, still, while this is still a sneaking undercover game, you can pick a different path of action and start dumping ammo on your enemy. I advise you to master both methods because the game will demand both at certain stages.

I could write a full review of this game, but that’s not the point of this post. You can get very well written reviews on IGN or Gamespot. I want to point out a few coolness points on MGS that I wasn’t expecting.

This first is the branding effort you’ll see during the game. Kojima’s team designed some clever brands that are placed in the game, either for products / services (you’ll understand when you play the game) but perhaps what will get your attention at first, is the heavy product placement.

Besides advertising and to give a more realistic feeling to the game, certain brands and product will be available for you to interact, like the Re-Gain powerdrink you can use to get some energy boost for Snake or a Playboy Magazine that you use to lure and distract enemies (and take a peek at the centerfolds yourself).

Still, the big champion of product placement in MGS4 is… Apple! You’ll notice quite in the beginning of the game, when you’re being contacted by Otacon, his office is crammed with Apple hardware, from Cinema Displays to Mac Pro’s, you’ll spot them in a glimpse. Though this could be just a nod to Apple, the most screaming product placement ever in a game is the iPod that Snake has in his personal items, that can be used during the missions like a real iPod. You can control it like you would control an iPod in the real life, through an interface on the screen. The iPod comes loaded with podcasts and the soundtracks from previous Metal Gear Solid games, and you can find more tracks during the game as well as download more tracks from the Internet.

Metal Gear Solid 4 is a great game, no doubt about that, but it uses a kind of in game marketing that the videogame industry is eager to explore for some time now. I don’t care for in game ads and product placement, as long as it’s done tastefully and with some brains. Let me tell you that playing MGS4 while listening to a podcast via Snake’s iPod is a different but pleasant experience 😀

Closing down this long post: Metal Gear Solid 4 – Recommended! Even with all the product placement and virtual iPods in the mix 😀

MacHeist

Yes, I’ve been following all the ruckus about MacHeist on the blogs. I bought the MacHeist package, but only after it reached 14 apps. Nevertheless, most people when writing about it forget that MacHeist has it’s name mainly because it has a sort of hacking contest behind, where you try to get the code to unlock a vault and increase the Loot, being the loot more apps for your Mac 😀 Well, if you’re not in the mood for ‘hacking’ the code is 3572.

Time Capsule

Best product in the Keynote, very reasonable price if you consider that a 1TB USB drive costs Eur 250 and a WIFI N router is no less than Eur 150. I was thinking about buying an Airport Extreme but I decided to wait until today. Guess it payed off 😀 Now, if I could only pre order it on the portuguese Apple store…

[tags]Apple, Time Capsule[/tags]

MacBook Air

A laptop with a battery that can’t be removed and costs Eur 1700? You got to be kidding Steve… Next keynote we’ll probably meet the MacBook Air Pro, with an included optical drive and a removable battery…

Update: Until when someone (or Apple) releases a patch for the MacBook / Macbook Pro’s trackpads support the gesture-based input? After all, it can read at least two fingers and you don’t need more than that for most of the gestures.

[tags]Apple, MacBook Air[/tags]