Archive for 'Multimedia'

I’ve been using my iPhone for 6 weeks now.

Long enough to spot some good and some bad things about it πŸ™‚

First, the good:

  • Very attractive device ( Hardware )
  • It has the same smooth and silky look and feel that we’re used to from Apple ( Software )
  • Standard apps are very easy to use ( as in non-awkward ( think Windows Mobile πŸ˜‰ ) )
  • Multi-touch, rotating pics, … ( yeah others support it too, but they were first afaik )
  • Chat/IM-like interface for SMS ( takes SMS to a whole other level, but you tend to SMS a lot more as a result πŸ™‚ )
  • Frontside glass seems to be very scratch-resistant
  • The virtual keyboard is pretty handy to type on, even with my big hands πŸ™‚

Now, the bad/ugly:

  • You _have_ to use iTunes to be able to use the device ( activation ) and sync/backup it.
  • You cannot choose what you want to install ( unless Apple said it was OK )
  • Battery life.. with bluetooth and wireless disabled, I can’t even make 48 hours without recharging!
  • No MMS.. I don’t use it, but FFS, every cheapo phone supports this for years..
  • No bluetooth file transfers.. Same comment as above.
  • No Caldav for calendaring. This one annoys me the most. Incredible.
  • 15 EUR for an ‘official’ stupid recharge USB-to-Apple-stuffs cable.. ( $2 on dealextreme.com btw πŸ˜‰ )
  • They don’t allow competitors ( Opera, Firefox, …Β  anyone? )
  • When calling, I cannot keep the phone to my ear for longer than 5 mins because my head starts feeling very warm. I have to swap sides regularly ( sounds very healthy πŸ™‚ )
  • No access to the source πŸ˜‰
  • API’s are mostly closed. Calendar API being the biggest annoyancy for me, and the reason why Funambol can only sync contacts through their iPhone app. Calendaring is still impossible because of Apple.
  • Camera _really_ cannot handle any movement πŸ˜› ( blurry pics as soon as you move )
  • Fanboys that downplay every issue listed here with no technical arguments whatsoever.

I am sure I have forgotten a lot of items ( both pro and con ).

The general feeling I have is that this has everything to be a killer phone. Too bad Apple wastes a lot of opportunities by the vast amount of lock-in they oppose on the device. Let the community free to build/extend it and it would be orders of magnitude better/more attractive. But I guess this is typical Apple behaviour. If Microsoft would have the same behaviour as Apple, it would cost them millions and millions in Anti-trust lawsuites. I hope the EU wakes up one day and starts judging the anti-competative police Apple handles currently.

All in all i really like the device and hope Apple would pull its head from its *** and clean up shop!

This weekend i helped someone ( Linux newbie on his brand new Ubuntu 8.04-powered PC ) install ETQW ( Enemy Territory: Quake Wars ). Downloading the bin file and installing it ( during which it copies the needed files from the official ETQW DVD/CD ) was a breeze. When he started the game, everything looked fine, without one flaw: there was no sound.

Ubuntu Hardy ( along with several other new(er) distro’s ) started using PulseAudio to control all audio-related processes on the system. ETQW uses SDL for its sound-needs, but fails to play through pulseaudio. The solution is simple, install the “libsdl1.2debian-pulseaudio” package either through Synaptic or with an “apt-get install libsdl1.2debian-pulseaudio”, and your ETQW will be able to play sounds/music again πŸ™‚

Lately all major graphics card developers started releasing their specs to the open source community. Nvidia, AMD and Intel released vital information about their chipsets to the public, so that better open source drivers can be written, and no time gets lost with reverse engineering. Intel was the last to provide docs on http://www.intellinuxgraphics.org/ . I’m pretty excited about the state of graphics drivers in the following couple of Xorg releases!

I’ve been looking for a decent mp3/ogg player for quite a while.

I eventually gave up on the ogg part, and mentally prepared myself to either only use mp3’s on the player, or convert all my ogg’s to mp3. Either way, I was screwed. ( My playlist consists of both MP3 and OGG, it goes without saying that not a single piece of shi^W WMA can be found on my system πŸ˜‰ )

I was about to buy an iPod Nano ( the latest generation, with the flash drives and stuff ), but then Apple pulled yet another stunt, where i drew the line. Their sha1 hash debacle. Making the lives of Linux users around a little harder, so they couldn’t use their players anymore to use their iPods. Of course a small bump in the road, since it was reverse engineered only a few hours later, but still enough for me to finally drop Apple altogether.

Until one lucky day, i stumbled upon this player: the iRiver Clix 2.

It looks good, has an FM transmitter, and plays OGG as well! What’s even better, plugging it into a Linux desktop opens up the filemanager, and you simply drag and drop the songs you want to listen to. No iPod hacks, no SHA1 hashes, just a gloriously working transaction πŸ˜‰ I’ve been using it at work for over a month now, and still a happy camper πŸ˜‰

Recommended for every Linux user! πŸ˜‰