iPhone 3G Reviews

Well, “ilounge”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/live-iphone-3g-vs-iphone-comparison-test-results-here/ has a good first review set:

* The White 16GB is going to be much cleaner with fewer fingerprints than the black one. I’m kinda regretting ordering the black one now that I’ve seen photos. The white one is actually quite cute.
* Some folks are saying that this is really like iPhone 1.1 because other than 3G not much has changed, so if you already have a current iPhone you can wait for the next churn. (For those of us who have lost our iPhones, we are screwed!).
* The best thing to do with an iPhone is to try to get an unlocked one. The plans are really expensive at $30/month if you are a consumer. OTOH, the $45/month enterprise one is at least, just as much of a ripoff as the Blackberry plan. So you are no worse off if you are an Exchange user 🙂
* Sound quality on Bluetooth is better, but about the same as the original iPhone on the headset. The speakerphone is a little louder (important for me).
* 3G network isn’t always faster. Naturally, it depends on AT&T’s network, which I’m sure is not too high performance. Essentially 3G is about 26% faster in NYC. Wifi is still the method of choice at 2-7x faster than 3G with an average of 4x. In Orange County (who knows where and how that network is configured), 3G about 2x faster than in NYC. So YMMV


Kids loved it and I’m getting over being hit in the throat from point blank (the 14 year old who did it still lives 🙂 Anyway, turns out quite a few “places”:http://seattle.wikia.com/wiki/Paintball and there is even a review site at http://www.pbreview.com/fields/49/

They also recommend some sites like Warpig

Realtek Reverb

I don’t know how my Dad’s computer got this, but its an old PC with a 2003 (!!!) Realtek driver and a terrible reverb/echo. google:”Realtek reverb” revealed a very smart person “saying”:http://www.elitehackers.info/forums/archive/index.php/t-3012.html to look in the Control Panel for the Realtek audio control and change “environment” to none. It was set on default which was obviously bad.

Canon MX700 High Quality Printing

Like the “Canon i9900”:http://www.tongfamily.com/2006/06/canon-i9900-from-canon-digital-rebel-xt-printing-with-photo-paper-pro-adobe-photoshop-cs-or-cs-2-and-red-river-68-lb-glossy/#more-2629, the MX700, although much lower quality, does allow color matching and so forth. You just have to be able to decode the very cryptic Paper profiles that Canon uses for its paper. They are as follows, where Paper Pro is their best and Paper Plus is their good quality photographic paper.

# Canon MX700 PR1 means Photo Paper Pro, Print Quality 1 (highest quality)
# Canon MX700 PR2 means Photo Paper Pro, Print Quality 2 (the default)
# Canon MX700 SP2 means Photo Paper Plus Glossy, Print Quality 2
# Canon MX700 SP3 means Photo Paper Plus Glossy, Print Quality 3
# Canon MX700 MP2 means Matte Photo Paper, Print Quality 2

I have no idea what GL2 and GL3 are as paper types, but my guess is from the driver, it means Photo Paper Glossy II.

On this particular printer Photo Paper Pro only has Print Quality of 3, 2 and 1 where lower is better and Photo Paper Pro can only be quality 2 or 3, so it can’t be highest. Matte Photo Paper similarly is only 2 or 3.

Red Cliff (赤碧)

Red Cliff (c. 赤鼻; py. Chi4bi4) is a new film by “John Woo”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Woo (c. 吴宇森 py. WÅ­ YÅ­sÄ“n) who did Mission Impossible 2 to name a one sounds awesome.

It is based on historical events during a really tumultous time in Chinese history, the “Three Kingdoms period”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Kingdoms (c. 三国 py. Sānguó). It features three warlords and their three kingdoms, the Cao Wei, Shu Han and the Dong Wu and their master, Cao cao,

Slideshows on the Mac

Slideshows on the Mac are confusing because iPhoto, iDVD and iMovie can all make them, so what should use when. Here’s a guide:

h3. iPhoto ’08 for quick and dirty on the screen slideshows

First this is confusingly actually iPhoto ’08 , version 7.0 (why couldn’t they just bump the version to match the date?). This is the best tool to do a quick and dirty slide show on your computer screen. It literally takes four clicks to get a great looking video. It isn’t the right tool to push it onto a DVD or make it into a movie you can watch on your iPhone or on another computer, but use it first because it is fast. Here are the steps:

# Load your photos. While iPhoto will do direct importing, I personally like to keep the files separate from iPhoto because I archive all my photos onto a Time Capsule and use many tools on it. So you can either import by connecting your camera and iPhoto will appear and allow an import. Or import with your camera tool (amazingly Canon EOS Utility actually works on Canons, Fujis and Nikons). Then delete the photos you don’t want
# Import your photos into iPhoto. Start iPhoto and choose File/Import. iPhoto ’08 is smart. It actually puts each day of shooting into a separate _Event_. So please make sure that your camera date is correct. Its a nice way to break things up.
# Select all your photos. Hold th eoption key down and click on all the events and then click on the Slideshow button at the bottom, this creates a slide show automatically. Select Ken Burns at the bottom.
# Now click on the music icon and iTunes appears. The only trickly part is that you can only select playlists or a single song which repeats over and over, so you click on a playlist *and don’t click on the songs below* otherwise, you’ll only get the first song you have highlighted below. That is the tricky part.

You are done. Now just hit the play button and you can watch the slideshow with glorious sound and the Ken Burns zoom in/out effect.

h3. iPhoto export to iDVD for a DVD

This is a little tricky, because if you just choose File/Export when you select a Slideshow in iPhoto, you only get a 4:3 low resolution 640×480 version of your photos that look pretty blurry. So instead, to make a nice DVD, you have a terrible choice, either lower resolution movie made by iPhoto or no Ken Burns effect if you make the slideshow directly in iDVD but you do get all the photos in full resolution copied to the DVD.

Net, net, I’m probably a fan of getting everything out there, so recommend you loose Ken Burns but you get a widescreen DVD and if you put that DVD into a computer, whoever you give the DVD to can get the full resolution JPG shots. Here is how:

# In iPhoto, take the select all the Events and then choose File/New Album from Selected. This creates an albun in iPhoto. Delete and change the order so you have the slide show in the right order and close iPhoto.
# Start iDVD and pick a theme (Vintage Vinyl is pretty cool!) and click on Media and the Pictures you will see the iPhoto albums and drag the album of choice onto the the screen on the left. This inserts the slide show. Now click on the button at the center that is a dashed box with an arrow into it. This is the _Drop Zone_ button, pick your favorite photos from within the album and drag them there. These will now appear automatically in your menus.
# Add audio soundtrack by click on the Music and then drag a playlist onto the screen and this adds the music.
# Add the title, by click on the title placeholder and typing the name of your slideshow and I also like to change the name of the button created to “Play…” instead of the album name. Now double click on the Play… and you should see the Slideshow come up. Drag a playlist from iTunes onto the MP3 button at the bottom and change Slide Duration to 3 seconds and click on Return.
# Now click on Play and make sure it looks and sounds right and choose Exit on the controller. You are now ready to burn your DVD.
# Burn it onto your hard drive which is way easier by choosing File/Save as TS_VIDEO folder and then when you want to burn a DVD, you can use Disk Utility to do that.

h3. iMovie for high resolution Movies sized on HD or for iPhone

Now the most work that you have to do is to create a standalone H.264 .MOV files that you can use on your HD screen at higher resolution that a DVD (DVDs are 720×480 while most computer screens are much more and can display 1920×1080 easily). You have to use a fancier tool like iMovie to generate these. So here are the steps

# Start iMovie and choose File/Project Properties and make sure Aspect Ratio is set to Widescreen, Transitions are set to Add Automatically and Initial Photo Placement is set ot Ken Burns and select OK.
# click on the Photo icon at the center right of the screen and you will see your iPhoto albums. Select all the photos and drag them to the top center of the screen.
# Click on the music icon at the center right and you will see iTunes playlists and drag these to the toop center of the screen. You are looking to hit the background and not the individual photos and should see the background lightup when you get it right.
# If you are feeling ambitious, select the T icon at the center right and then drag a title to the beginning of the slide show. Click on the Title and type in the name. Now you are ready to render.
# If you want to get it to an iPhone choose Share/Export Movie and you can select Mobile to get it to an iPhone or any other device you have.
# If you want something that is really high definition and bigger than choose Share/Export using Quicktime and select Options. You can change the Size to 1920×1080 HD to get something that is amazing quality and very big too. Also look at the box on the right of the dialog and make sure it says it says H.264 which is the highest level compression and best quality. Choose OK and Save.

And voila, from a set of photos, you now have something that works on screen, you have a DVD and you have an Quicktime movie which is small to upload and send to an iPhone. As well as a huge HD sized slideshow for the day when you get a Blu Ray player 🙂

Mac OS X for Windows Users

I’m actually kind of amazed there are so few “books”:http://books.google.com/books?id=la-rJ7UWYhQC&dq=mac+os+x+for+windows+users&pg=PP1&ots=WzFrczmJam&sig=R3H_Uop0QuAfSd4dVNWPMA7g_Wg&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result and other resources that help a Windows user navigate the Mac. In the dawn of time, I worked on a project that made Excel understandable to Lotus 1-2-3 users, but given there are just a few small things, I sometimes wonder why Apple just doesn’t tweak a few settings to make things more friendly.

Anyway, here are my top 5 tips for Windows users using Mac OS X for the first time. In famous reverse order:

h4. Where the heck are all the Applications?

Most folks seem to figure out the toolbar on the bottom of OS X, but where all all the applications? The equivalent of the Start menu is there, but where are all applications. Well, it is backwards from Windows, go to the very right side of the tool part and next to the thing that looks like a highway strip is the Applications directory. You can use it just like Start/All Programs on Windows, but you don’t see everything, there is a massive list that you scroll by putting the mouse on the down arrow at the bottom

h4. Where the heck is the Control Panel?

Like Windows, all the really interesting configurations are in what is called Settings, but where the heck is it? Ok, go to the Applications and go all the way down to System Preferences which is the Mac Control Panel.

h4. How do i get a right click?

Apple loves the single click mouse, but two changes and you can right click. First the Apple mighty mouse is actually a two button mouse even though you don’t see two buttoms. Pressing to the right of the trackball on the top is the right click. Click on Keyboard & Mouse in the System Preferences and click on Mouse. You will see a picture of a mouse on the right button, it defaults to Primary Button. Change that to Secondary Button and now when you right click, it works just like Windows. Wahoo

h4. How do I right click on my MacBook?

Well, nearly everyone is really buying a Macbook and it only has a single button, but Mac has a way to still get double click. Just go back to that Keyboard & Mouse and click on Trackpad. Select Two Fingers/Secondary click. Now when you tap with one finger you get the left mouse click and when tap with two fingers you get right click. BTW, their nomenclature of primary and secondary click is kinda wierd. Windows know that as left click and right click. (As an aside, turn on all various clicks, I normally do and you’ll love it. If instead of tapping with two fingers, you hold them down, then you can scroll all over the screen. The tutorial built into this page is pretty neat. I personally can’t live with out Drag Lock, which means when you tap and keep holding, you can then move your finger and it drags what you’ve selected around. When you lift your finger, it releases it. Cool!

h4. Stuffing Control Panel onto the Start menu.

You will be setting lots of control panel things, so you can actually leave the little control panel on the tool bar. Just right click on the tool bar (or double tap if you’ve got a MacBook) and you will see a menu that includes the words _Keep in Dock_ this means that when you close the application, it will stay on the dock bar so you can click to get it

h4. Where are my files?

The Mac organizes files completely differently. There is the equivalent of My Documents, but it works differently because in Windows My Documents is well everything you will create, whereas there are sort of two My Documents on the Mac, there is your username and there is /username/My Documents and applications put things in random places. To find things, start the Finder which is the leftmost icon on the dock and just like the Windows Explorer, it has this confusing section called Places, but you can’t tell what is a shortcut and what is a real link. To summarize the differences:

table{empty-cells: show; border: solid}.
|_. OS X Name |_. In filesystem |_. Windows Name |_. In filesystem |
{border: solid}. | _Username_ | /Users/_Username_ | _doesn’t have one_ | c:\documents and settings\_username_ |
{border: solid}. | Desktop | /Users/_Username_/Desktop | _doesn’t have one_ | c:\documents and settings\_username_\Desktop |
| Documents | /Users/_Username_/Documents | My Documents | c:\documents and settings\_username_\My Documents |
| Downloads | /Users/_Username_/Download | _no name_ | c:\documents and settings\_username_\My Documents\ |
| Pictures | /Users/_Username_/Pictures | My Pictures | c:\documents and settings\_username_\My Documents\My Pictures |
| Movies | /Users/_Username_/Movies | My Movies | c:\documents and settings\_username_\My Documents\My Movies |

So you can see the confusion. Many of the Windows things don’t have name you can refer to them and they all live inside c:\documents and settings, but the only thing visible in the filesystem to ordinary users is My Documents. In contrast on the Mac, you can in effect see everything by looking at the _username_ directory. If you user name is Rich, then you see the desktop as /Users/Rich/Desktop and it has all the files shoved there. If you go to finder, and click on Places and your user name, you will see a folder called Desktop. So Mac is more transparent.

The confusing thing though is that My Pictures and My Music on the PC are inside My Documents, but on the mac, they are not, they are instead at the next level up, so if you go to Documents as many Windows user will, you will not find everyone of your files. No, you go to _Username_ for that.

Finally, when you save a file with Internet Explorer, it just dumps it either onto the Desktop or into My Documents, with Safari, it dumps it into a special directory in /Users/_username_ called Download and it is also on the Dock on the right. That’s confusing as you save something with Safari and it looks like it has disappeared. It isn’t on the Desktop nor in Documents which is where the Windows user expects things. So if you lose a file, it is probably at the top level or your _username_.
h4. Why is my computer slow?

No Windows user can live without knowing where the task manager is and figuring out what is slow. The Mac isn’t perfect and many times, you want to find out what is going on.

h4. Where the heck is everything?

Unlike Windows, you don’t have to search aimlessly in programs for an application. In fact, there is a much easier way to get anything. It is called Spotlight and is in the very upper right of your screen and looks like a tiny magnifying glass. Click on it and you get a text box. If you want to find say, the “Disk Utility” quickly, type disk and then press enter and you will start the application. It finds any document etc and unlike the various Windows XP utilities is keystroke fast.

h4. How do I kill an application?

Mac applications hang just like Windows applications. Every Windows user knows about Task manager and killing from there. How do you do it with Mac. Well, first you have to figure out what is hanging. The equivalent of Task Manager is called Activity Monitor. Easiest way to find it is to go to Spotlight at the upper right and type its name and press enter when you see it. this is also the application that lets you kill things by clicking on the process and pressing Quit Process. In the Mac there is no distinction between Program and Process like in Windows, so you just have one screen to deal with.

h4. What if the Finder hangs? Or a program won’t go away.

We all know that the Windows Explorer can hang with an hour glass and there is nothing to do about it (well, if you are a power user on Windows you know you can solve this by going to Task Manager and killing the explorer.exe process, but I digress). With Mac, you go to the Apple menu at the upper left and select Force Quit, Force Quit is the rude form of killing and is usually pretty fatal. You’ll see a list of current applications running and you can terminate. If you are getting an hourglass, then you can Force Quit Finder and this automatically relaunches which is great!

h4. How do I chkdsk and defrag?

In a word, you can’t defrag so you don’t need to do that and chkdsk uses something called Disk Utility. Find this by going to spotlight in the upper right and typing in disk Utility. You will see your hardward disk and then below it the friendly name you’ve given it (this is technically the hardware drive and the formatted disk). Click on the formatted disk and you can choose Repair Disk to do a chkdsk /f or Repair Permissions which just fixes permissions.


From a Credit Suisse investment report

The U.S. is usually considered the consumer capital of the world and consumption of food is no exception as the world-leading obesity levels suggest. Using data from Center for Disease Control and the Forum for Health Economics and Policy, we estimate that 54% of the U.S. population is overweight and that 26% is obese. We expect the rates to continue to rise to reach 58% (overweight) and 30% (obese) by 2015 and 60% (overweight) and 32% (obese) by 2020 .More than half the U.S. is overweight or obese, and this will continue to rise

So of course we all want to know are we overweight or obese. Turns out the “measure”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity called BMI is pretty simple

BMI = weight in kg / (height in meters squared)

For those folks still living in the US, the conversion is

BMI = wieght in pounds * 703 / (height in inches squared)

BTW, I’m at 24.1, so just on the hairy edge of “normal weight”. I shouldn’t have had that bowl of soup for lunch! According to this, I have to lose 11 pounds to get to a BMI of 22.5 which is the midpoint. Sad to say I haven’t weighted that much for three decades. Sigh. Well, at least 5 pounds then!

Best way to get an iPhone 3G is to order from an AT&T Store

Mac Rumors: Apple Mac Rumors and News You Care About

Turnout appears to be heaviest at Apple’s retail locations, however many AT&T locations still be managing to sell out in under an hour. At stores where stock has run out AT&T is accepting orders that will arrive within the next few days. Alleyinsider surveyed 10 AT&T stores in the New York City area. All 10 were out of iPhone stock today.

iPhone for Business

If you are a business with an “AT&T”:http://www.wireless.att.com/businesscenter/iPhone3G/index.jsp?bref=IB0003j3709y2141 account, you can buy the iPhone 3G via their “Premier”:http://www.wireless.att.com/businesscenter/premier/index.jsp portal support system. You just have to make sure you are eligible and the company pays your wireless bills. And you get an 8% discount on top of everything if you have five or more CRUs.

They have a different rate plan system which i can almost “understand”:http://www.wireless.att.com/businesscenter/iPhone3G/index.jsp

# Enterprise data plan. $45. I’m not clear on the exact difference, but if they mirror Blackberry, then this means you can access Exchange. They require Exchanger Server 2003 SP2 or 2007.
# Unlimited text messaging. $20. This is now debundled (and very expensive!), but there is a $15 for 1500 texts ($0.10 per text) and 200 for $5.

On the “voice”:http://www.wireless.att.com/businesscenter/plans/voice.jsp side, they mirror the FamilyTalk plans, but basically they have a Business Pooled Nation plan (what kind of name is that) where you can share minutes with all what they call Corporate Responsibility Users (CRUs). That means folks for whom the bill is paid for by the company and the agreement is with the company.

These plans are up to $155 for 3000 minutes/users. Now these are all shared and they rollover, so it is a great way to manage a big minute pool effectively. And of course all mobile-to-mobile are free, US long distance is included. The smallest bucket is $45 for 450 minutes, so you’d have to really analyze if this works better than a FamilyTalk plan if you’ve got users with big variances in usage.

With non-iPhone’s the FamilyTalk charge is $10 per “additional user”:http://www.bellsouth.com/consumer/wireless/wireless_familytalk.html to add to your plan. However, with iPhone’s, they don’t provide that kind of discount. It is hard to tell with the bundling, but they only allow three lines per iPhone and essentially, the data can’t be bundled or “shared”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1584127&tstart=105. So the math is:

$60 FamilyTalk plan + $30 data + $30 data = $120

And if you have phones which are say Blackberry, you can add them as bundles too.