Monday, August 31, 2009

"Please stay on the line"

It's a little late, and I haven't written anything more about the Nokia 5320. What I did want to write was about the music features and capability. It's near 1 AM, and I have to wake up early for fasting, and my university starts tomorrow.

So I shall write about the music features in the 5320 tomorrow (technically, today).

Till then.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nokia 5320: a breakdown

As promised, here's a broken-down review (read: parted review) of the Nokia 5320.

Briefly, these are the specs. I'll write more details in the following posts.


  • Symbian S60 9.3 with the feature-pack 2 operating system
  • Approximately 50MB user memory, with around 80MB free memory for RAM. MicroSD card supported (I got a 1GB one with my pack)
  • It's an XpressMusic (XM) phone, meaning you get the rewind/forward/play functionality
  • It's also a device that supports the N-Gage gaming platform (you have to unlock the games for full functionality)
  • It features a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an environmentally-friendly charger which consumes approximately 10% of the energy typical chargers consume when not charging the phone (but connected in the wall socket)
  • The USB is not a micro-USB port, but rather, something even smaller. So if you're planning to use your digital camera's wire, don't; it won't work. They've supplied a cable with it.
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate and Audio Profiles
  • The phone supports 2G/2.5G/2.75G/3G/HSPDA with two-way camera (one of them is a 2 megapixel camera).
  • Battery life, on the other hand, isn't quite up to par. If you're using it for music and basic calling and texting, it should last you around two days or maybe up to three, but if you'll be running applications heavily, make sure you recharge atleast every night (the typical Symbian problem)
  • Because this is a FP2 phone, it does include some operating system tweaks and changes (which can be read here, a review done by Mobile Review).
I guess these are the basics. More to come soon.

OSX's.. huh?

(I need to stop my Apple thrashing)

I'm not going to go into the details, but

a) people are not getting what they paid for - they're not getting the "up-to date" version of OSX. See Twitter here

b) the malware protection offers protection from... two types of malware. Yes, two. While something's better than nothing, the Windows counterparts offer MUCH more than just two pieces of malware. Great going, Apple. You certainly know how to please customers :/

Wow. Just wow!

Nokia N900 - now we're talking.

It's not Symbian - it's Linux. My first Linux smart phone was the Motorola E680i, and that was quite a nice experience (yes, it lacked a few things, but I got it for free), and now, Nokia's come out with the N900. You can read alot about it from the internet (as well as their website) but BetaNews has it here.

I'd love to get my hands on that gizmo, I tell ya.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Apple idioticness

Remember the last few posts about me not liking Apple for it's actions? Apparently, this time, they've nailed one of their rock-bottom incidents. They say it's not their fault if one of their devices burn up and explode. Uh-huh, it's not their fault.

That's like Sarah Palin saying "I can see Russia from my house!" (see the Youtube link for the SNL video snip).

Via BetaNews, an Apple spokesperson said


"To date, there are no confirmed battery overheating incidents for iPhone 3GS and the number of reports we are investigating is in the single digits," an Apple spokesperson told the AFP. The report goes on to say that cracking in iPhone glass cases is due to a phenomenon it has termed "external force."

Ain't that sweet? Well, you know what - if you really love your customers (which you CLEARLY don't), then why not do something kind for them instead of bricking your wall to a lousy operator in the countries the iPhone is sold, build a genuine interface and not copy Creative, and get a life? I'm sure you'll get tons of praises then.

Sorry guys, but I just don't seem to approve of Apple's actions.

Refresh-frenzy

Has it ever occured to you that you, more often than not, right click on the desktop window and hit "Refresh"? Te other day, I was at the admissions office at my university, and while glancing to a PC nearby, I could see a person doing this constantly.

I don't know what objective they had, nor what this action seems to achieve except psychological ease, but certainly, it's one thing that irritates the hell outta me! When the computer wants to refresh, it will refresh. Stop putting additional load on it by forcing it to refresh every other second!

There! First quirk on the blog, and first rant of the blog too!

Ufone's blocked Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo... great going!

In a recently-discovered scheme, Ufone customers aren't able to get email from their Gmail, Hotmail nor Yahoo email accounts. Not sure why, though these three companies are quite popular worldwide (it should be noted that Gmail recently took over AOL in terms of subscribers, so clearly, it's not on which company's popular. The method of receiving email over cellphones is by forwarding/composing a message to a unique email address alloted to your phone (in other words, an email-to-SMS gateway). 


ProPakistani writes
Ufone has also blocked Gmail from their ‘Email To SMS Service’. So! technically speaking; now people who use Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo can’t send Email to SMS messages to their buddies.
 So far, Zong hasn't blocked it. Could it be a glitch?

You can read the full article here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More soon

Pardon my absense, but I've been going up and down in terms of health. I think I'm recovering again from another one of those stomach issues.

But don't fret, when I do return, there'll be more, and a mini review of Nokia 5320 XpressMusic.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Crackberry is tougher than the iPhone

Yes, you read right: the iPhone and the Blackberry slipped off a car's top.

Result: the iPhone broke. The Blackberry had some bruises here and there, but it would function. Apple, on the other hand, believes robustness is not needed to compete in the market.

You can read the whole article here.

Not that I hate Apple (because I don't like Blackberry either), but Apple seems to be messing around waaay too much. In recent news, Apple, AT&T and Google replied to the FCC with their version.

Sorry for  not being up to things - I was ill for the last few days. Hopefully, it'll get better.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Calling friends from work? You could be unhappy with your work


According to an article published by the BBC, research states that with 95% accuracy, they were able to determine who was happy and who wasn't - all based on who they talk to.

The article says,

The results also showed that those with friends near work were happier, while those who called friends while at work were less satisfied.
The article also said that they had a logging software installed on the participants' phones... just wondering how their privacy was maintained is interesting on it's own.

Read the full article over here.

PTCL woes - yet again

You'd probably think I'm some retarded spaz. I'm not, just in case.

The reason I'm writing this is because I'm sick down to the butt with PTCL.

First of all, they have filtering software installed on their DSL gateways (not modems, but the machines at their end) which not only slows things down, but stalls web page loading especially at the evenings and nights.

Secondly, other ISPs are charging the same fee that PTCL is charging, except PTCL doesn't include the tax amount. For instance, all other DSL providers in Rawalpindi and Islamabad charge Rs. 1200 per month, which is already the after-tax amount. That's not the case with PTCL.

Thirdly, I was overbilled for the last month - by around Rs. 700 extra. I'm not the only person - one of the guards at the office of the customer support premises had asked me whether DSL was the issue or not, and I said it was. So I'm not alone (yaay!).

Fourthly, they make their customers run from one exchange to another, to another, to another, and eventually, you hit a dead end, only to realize that a part of the problem was fixed.

I'm seriously thinking of ditching PTCL's DSL service and opting for another company in Rawalpindi and Islamabad that has a track record of doing things right on the first go (i.e. Micronet Broadband - dsl.net.pk).

All I have to to is gather some money for the modem, then... meanwhile, wish me good luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Twitter users in Pakistan can now tweet and receive tweets!

I came across this website, Mob2weet, which lets users in Pakistan use Twitter via SMS over their cellphone - all for the price of a typical SMS cost. The website provides the service for free, but outgoing SMS rates apply.

It's pretty simple - they haven't used 0Auth yet (which is Twitter's authorization system, but they expect to by tomorrow i.e. 19th August 2009) but you can safely sign in with your credentials.

Here's how it works briefly: you send an sms with your registration details to a specific number (they have network specific numbers, but you're free to choose which number you pick) and once your registration is confirmed, you'll get all tweets from your Home screen.

Don't want to receive updates from a specific user? Send "off " to the number, and those alerts will be turned off. Sending "off" will disable all alerts.

You can even DM your fellow friends, and receive them too.

I know this service will help reduce the SMS email costs that I have to pay Telenor - since it's a perfectly good alternative to receiving news on your cellphone for free.

So far, all networks are supported, but the code for Telenor subscribers isn't up yet (you can use another telco's number instead - since it won't make a difference).

The website isn't much - it only gives you instructions. I guess they're trying to get the SMS service up and running first, then possibly make a front-end later on. But it definitely looks promising (and I went WOOHOO! on Twitter today). They're also on Twitter too!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Eliminate noise from your phone with an anti-static bag

According to an article by Lifehacker and Into Mobile, if you can find an anti-static bag around your house, you can remove that humming noise from your cell phone. I know th Razr is plagued with this noise if you have the lights turned on, but my soon-to-be-sold K790i by SonyEricsson doesn't have this problem (or I've gone deaf).

What is an antistatic bag? Have you ever bought a piece of hardware and gotten a silver bag that's quite dense? THAT is an antistatic bag. According to the article,

Simply sitting your mobile phone in top of an anti-static bag will squash all magnetic interference. The next time your speakers start buzzing because your homies are blowin’ up the cellie, just find that shiny silver bag and place it over the 

You can see the video below.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

DSL woes

And that's why I was unable to post for the last few days.

It so happens that I had moved the PC from one room to another, and the DSL modem refused to work in the other room. The wiring is a bit too complicated to tell, but it was a rather bizzare scenario: let's say, it was working perfectly some 3 months back, and now, it wasn't.

I'll try catching up on what I've missed, so excuse this. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the much-needed rain in the twin cities, after Pakistan's independence day.

Oh - and Happy (belated) Independence Day! :D

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Google and Caffeine

Almost ironical my blog's name has Caffeine too!

Anyway, it's pretty much still hot, and everywhere - I mean - even the BBC has a story on this!

In a crux: it's Google's new search engine. Some say it leaves Bing behind, some say nothing (like myself, since I haven't used it properly yet).

Google says (via BBC - I'm a bit too lazy to check out their blog :P ) that it is the "first step in improving the speed, accuracy and comprehensiveness of search results".

Basically, the result order/layout, it's "freshness" or "recency" of articles and other under-the-hood things have been improved. Caffeine will replace the main search engine once testing is complete.

Well - either way, I think I'll still use Google heh. This isn't making me drool more, but improvements are welcome.

EDIT: BetaNews has an article on what's different in Caffeine. Take a look here.

Suu Kyi verdict

Credit: Stuart Isett via Flickr

I'm not into politics, but I've supported the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been put under another house arrest in the military-controlled Burma (or Myanmar, as some may prefer). This time, she was put under house arrest (for another 18 months, I think) for violating a previous house-arrest condition: that she won't accompany any visitors to her house. An American, however, came and allegedly stayed at her place.

Who's right and who's wrong is not my job, but it is sad to see that a military government doesn't recognize the sad state it's country has plunged into.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If you have your boss added on Facebook as a friend...

... just make sure this doesn't happen. Ever.



via Imgurl

Monday, August 10, 2009

Translation Party

There's a new site in town - Translation Party. It's one of those sites that help you see whether your English phrase meets a totally wrong translation after repeated translation. They use Google's translation bot to convert text into Japanese, then back into English, and back into Japanese and so on, until they find an equilibrium (both translations yield the same message).

It's fun to fool around with. I know typing in "xbox" gives around 40-something results, and then gives you "However, copy, Xbox, copy of a copy of all" as the ultimatum.

Now where did it get that from?!

TechCrunch noted that by typing "May the Force be with you" gives "October 5 power, to please".

Not productive, I know, but fun to play with.

Friday, August 7, 2009

My first follower!

Yay! I guess I am happy LOL! I've been trying to get people to read my blogs and comment on it (but I'm doing something majorly wrong - so wrong I don't know what it is) but today, I saw I have more than one follower (yes, for some unknown reason, I added myself as a follower and can't "unfollow" myself.... that's like a dog chasing it's tail!).

Thank you ZJFZMQ7S (although I have NO idea what it means)!

Google Wave - a little more this time

Google Wave has been out for developers for a few weeks now, and I've been one of the fortunate ones to get a test trial of Wave. So far so good, but it's still majorly buggy.

Here's what Wave is, if you ask me: Email + IM + social networking + online collaboration + wiki + discussion groups + widgets, all into one interface, seamlessly integrated.

Why do I say seamlessly? It's because there isn't a separate screen estate for, say, chat and email - you do everything from one sub-window.

Here's a blurred censored screenshot of the Wave interface (you can see the video posted here, which was on day 2 of the Google I/O conference - I only watched 15 minutes of it and started to drool).

Here, you can see the interface shown in the I/O video above - except there are a few advancements (such as bug fixes et al), but what's so special?

It can replace conventional email - not only does it have Gmail's threaded view (conversation view), it also has a contact list with which you add "participants" into your wave (recipients, in other words).

Now others can invite others (although I think in the future, this'll be an option later on to remove participants) so your wave can turn into a tsunami with a multitude of authors and what-not.

Look at the bottom-right: you see tags. There are also folders here - but they act as labels (as in, they're more like the "add label and archive" format, cause you can see them if you click on "All". History and Settings don't work (yet).

On the right hand side is where you see replies to your wave. You can reply normally by clicking on the reply button (or a keyboard shortcut) or have an inline reply (highlight some text, then press "enter" on your keyboard, or the "Reply" button in the interface) (not shown). There are apparently 3 types of replies: child, sibling and something else (I'll update this when I get the names of all three).

If both participants are viewing a wave (that is, if both are online) and one of them is adding a reply (or editing - more on this in a bit), they can actually see what they're typing - in REAL TIME! This means you can quickly answer what they're saying, without having to wait for them to finish (and edit your replies accordingly). There is meant to be an option to change this and show a message similar to "x is typing" instead of the realtime characters, but it's not on right now.

You can edit posts - yes, edit them. This makes it a perfect alternative to Wikis with a commenting system (for e.g., the first post will be the wiki content, and subsequent replies can act as notes/comments). Anyone can edit (right now) if they can see your wave.

You can have bots in your wave -for e.g., there's a "Swedish Bot" in Wave right now (not sure who made it) that automatically edits and posts your English message into a Swedish-accented messages (for e.g., "what are you doing" would become something like "vaat arr you dooing?" - I don't know the exact details, but it should suffice as an example). You've got bouncers in it too (for removing participants) and tons others. You can add gadgets/apps in Wave as well - for instance, someone started a chess game in a wave (and you can reply as a chat thingi).

But because this is a developer preview (translation: alpha, or pre-beta, or broken), there are bugs. The client's crashes seem to have reduced (the only way to report bugs is either on the specific link, or when the client crashes - the report a bug link doesn't work). You can't attach files via the menu (but drag and drop works perfectly from Windows). Groups aren't implemented yet (not sure if they will be) but you can have pseudo-groups in Wave - you add the participants manually (like a mailing list, in which you add 20 people instead of emailing one address). There is a way to make your wave "public", but that's different. Groups aren't always public.

I think that's alot of information. I'm not sure if what I'm doing violates the NDA or not (considering Google's already demoed the project) but I think this info should help put people at ease why Wave is the next big thing, which might put other services out of place (if this gets all it's bugs squashed out). I'm sure I've left out some info (such as the ability to use Wave on the iPhone almost flawlessly - I haven't used it, but those who have say so) so pardon that. If there's anything you'd like to ask, go ahead.

Edit: right now, they use HTTPS for everything, so it's a bit slow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Apple going really low this time

As if the controversy over Google Voice wasn't enough, and the exploding iPod, Apple decided to put itself more into the limelight - this time, for censoring a dictionary. It's on the internet everywhere, and well - I don't think I'll be adding much if I continue writing. Read the rest of the story here, from Engadget.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lower your temperature and sleep well

A story covered in the New York Times states that researchers say the optimal temperature for sleeping well is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or between 15 and 26 degrees Celsius), and temperatures other than this can lead to restlessness.


And that's why insomniacs aren't able to sleep well - because their core temperature is higher than the recommended level.
Temperatures in this range, it seems, help facilitate the decrease in core body temperature that in turn initiates sleepiness. A growing number of studies are finding that temperature regulation plays a role in many cases of chronic insomnia. Researchers have shown, for example, that insomniacs tend to have a warmer core body temperature than normal sleepers just before bed, which leads to heightened arousal and a struggle to fall asleep as the body tries to reset its internal thermosta
 In short: a cool room and slightly lower body temperature ensures good sleep... but what if it's already freezing cold? It does make sense we always shiver first in bed, then get it warmed up, yes? Comments welcome.

Photo by oh so e

Effective cover letters raises your chances of getting a job - by a huge margin

I came across this blog post when I was searching for sample cover letters. I have to say, the author has summed up very nicely on what to do and what not to do. One commenter stated that a tiny percentage applies with a cover letter in the "correct format".

What is the correct format? In high school, we were taught the basic format:

Intro (very small)
Point 1 - emphasize
Point 2 - emphasize
Point 3 - emphasize
Conclude.

Cover letters aren't supposed to tell everything about your resume - they include the information the resume doesn't. If you reveal everything about your resume in the cover letter, chances are the person looking at your cover letter won't be very interested when they read your CV. In short - reveal your main highlights, and tell them why you're fit for the job. It's like an interview on paper - not standardized, and must convey the punchline.

Credit: Ask A Manager. View post here

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Apple doesn't want to be liable, and wants you to hush up!

A story from The Times Online has been floating on the internet like hot cakes. In short, a girl had purchased an iPod for almost 150 quid, saw it overheat, dropped it outside, and it flew high up in the air (around 10 feet). When the father went for a refund, he instead got a "letter...stated that, in accepting the money, Mr Stanborough was to “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”, and that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties”.


(Ellen Stanborough in the picture; Mr. Stanborough was the girl's father) (Picture: from The Times)


Now on such incidents, who'd sign it? Mr. Stanborough didn't, and I wouldn't be surprised. Instead, he played smart, and publicized this method of hushing up customers. Apple, apparently, does not want to be liable (but was willing to give a refund on the condition stated above).


The cause of the explosion was the Li-Ion battery, well known to pack in alot of energy, but at the same time, overheat at times if stressed.

So what does this mean? Does Apple want to protect it's reputation, or does it want to hush up all defects, or both? Either way, they haven't been getting good press lately because of the Google Voice app rejection scandal. I'm not a fan of Apple (because they weren't always original) but this isn't adding that fandom as well. Besides, the iPod is compatible with some players only, and the restrictions that they've got on the player are just appaling! I have a Creative Zen (but that's another story) and did you know Creative filed a lawsuit against Apple for copying their hierarchical interface?



I don't like you Apple, nor did I like you before. Even the iPhone has restricted functionality - WHY CAN'T YOU GET ANYTHING RIGHT?! That said, though I got the Zen for free (long story, and I had never heard of Creative's portable media player line), I like it for it's simplicity and earphones (which are tons better than Apple's).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Avoid traffic jams - drive like a jerk!

This is rather amusing. A research study suggested that if you drive like a jerk, chances are the traffic will keep on flowing.

Physicists at Sweden's Umea University suggested that if you drive like sheep and follow all traffic rules, you'll bump into a traffic jam eventually. But it comes with a warning - don't tailgate, otherwise you'll not only be breaking the law, but you'll increase the chances of an accident, in addition to creating a pile up.

But it still doesn't explain the frequent traffic jams in Pakistan :/

The article says (read more here)

...physicists at Sweden's Umea University found that while we're all taught to obey the traffic rules no matter what, doing so just makes for bottlenecks. Mix in some maverick drivers, however, and suddenly, logjams begin to ease as the percentage of drivers willing to pass on the right or zip past a pack of trundling cars on a two-lane actually help to keep the traffic flowing smoothly.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you now have a reason to not obey traffic rules!

(disclaimer: I won't be responsible for your actions - you're in control of your own actions, not me)

Ads?

Blegh! I can't get the ads to show up properly. Before, there were an absurd number of ads everywhere - hey, I'm allowed because I'm trying to do this seriously! But - anyway, in my quest for neatness (and as you can see, the blog's gotten a fresher theme), something's not going well with the ads. I'm trying to fix it. Knock on wood.

One rival to Google: "Bing-hoo"

Ever since the announcement of Microsoft's and Yahoo's partnership, it's around the blogosphere that there's now only one major rival to Google: and that's Bing.

In the deal (the details can be found everywhere on the internet - use Google ;), Yahoo will replace it's search with Bing (and other changes will take place). This means no more Yahoo! (sob).

Is it for the better or worse? Google thinks it's not good (and they have every reason to be threatened, considering how quickly Bing's gaining momentum in it's market share) and MS/Yahoo think it's good (since this is a market controlled by one major player, and the smaller ones don't really stand a chance without consolidation).

What can I say! Good luck to both companies!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Aero-like effects on Windows XP

Found this program (and not too long after, Lifehacker posted about it too). Basically, it's a program (no need to install) that helps bring Aero-like effects on Windows XP.

And while you should be aware of the fact that many programs that change your XP appearance can be a drag, this wasn't that much of one... but time will tell (and I know I have a majorly slow computer).

Download the program.

Create a driveway arch in... err - The Sims 2?

I thought it was one of the most ridiculous articles, but then - I don't play the Sims, or it's part 2, nor have I ever played it (so I guess I'm not the right person to passing judgements), but that said, I found this article on Wikihow on how to create a driveway arch.

Really not something I'd do, but is it really of any use? From the description,


An arch makes your house more unique than just dumping a driveway or garage next to it. Here is how to create a driveway arch in Sims 2.
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight! I think sanity is at an all-time low, with how-to guides topping the list. I know WikiHow's got interesting things now and then, but this... it takes the cake!

Natural Gas shortage? 53 years for the USA

According to The Oil Drum, the amount of natural gas the US has can last for around 53 years.

The article has a few snippets from different American newspapers, and here's an extract from the New York Times

Thanks to new drilling technologies that are unlocking substantial amounts of natural gas from shale rocks, the nation’s estimated gas reserves have surged by 35 percent, according to a study due for release on Thursday.

So what can this mean? The US won't really have to worry for gas - atleast in the short term. If there are any energy crises, then I guess they could do some sharin' and carin'!

Back to Izotope Ozone - again!

If there's anyone who's disorganized, it's me.

One of my previous posts spoke about multiband compressors and how you can make Winamp sound better. True, I like SoundSolution, but over prolonged usage, I noted that it hogged alot of CPU. Why, I don't know. Many forums praise the creator of SoundSolution that it's an all-rounder plugin with low latency, but for some reason or another, I've got very high latency with the preset that I uploaded.

I don't know if it's a preset-related thingy, but I moved back to my first love, Izotope Ozone. After fiddling with the presets for ages and ages, I've come to a final preset file (see the link below). It's not as power-hungry as SoundSolution, and has some sweetness in it too (as well as some open-ness).

And I realized multiband compressors are nothing unless certain frequencies are harmonized (or "harmonified") - go ahead and listen to my preset and hopefully, you should have some sweet, consistent sound coming from your (even low-end pathetic) speakers.

Get the preset here.