Evasi0n Jailbreak

The simplicity of the evas0in tool finally convinced me to Jailbreak my phone. Get the tool & instructions from here.

Since I have an ageing iPhone 4, resources are precious. I decided to install only those apps/tweaks that would improve user experience & stay away from modifying the themes etc.

both

NCSettings for Notification Center Toggles, finally a quick way to get to these important settings. Has 18 toggles to choose from, swiping along shows the next set. BlurriedNCBackground to replace Notification Center Linen backdrop with a blurred background.

Brightness can be adjusted right here

Brightness adjusted in Notification Center

 On tapping the brightness button, it brings up the slider to adjust.

multitaask

MultiStorey adds another row to App Switcher & brings volume slider together with media control

 

swipe upActivator is another great app. It allows you to use gestures to control your phone [similar to the gestures used on the iPad]. You can bind different gestures to different apps/tasks etc [2/3 fingers, touch/taps/swipes ]

For eg: I set it so that a sliding finger from the bottom onto the screen activates the app switcher , 3-finger tap takes a screenshot,  3 finger pinch closes app & brings me back to the home screen etc.

Changed from default camera to Camera+ using AnyLockApp

Changed from default camera to Camera+ using AnyLockApp

 AnyLockApp allows you to change app launched from the lock screen. Instead of the default camera app I have linked it to Camera+. It can be linked to any app of your choice.

Other apps of note

-SwipeShiftCaret: Move the cursor along text to edit easily with swipes

-Veency: Control phone through your computer.

All this has barely scratched the surface , there is so much more that you can do, its mind boggling!

iPhone 5 is below expectations?

iPhone 5 is out & apparently it is not good at all.

All over you can hear the collective moans that it failed to impress. Frankly,the only bad job Apple did was the with regard to the secrecy. If you follow tech news, pretty much everything was known beforehand. So much for ‘doubling down’ on leaks, it was like a water fountain show out there.

The primary disappointment is with regard to design. It isn’t ‘new’. Well it is a phone, what do you expect? A diamond shape? Transparent display? Flexible phone? If you did, you are in the wrong era. You dont go to a Ferrari showroom expecting to see a Prius inspired design, do you? Yes it looks similar but it still is a stunner.

It is thinner & thinner throughout, no unseemly bulges to make room for camera lens, more battery. And this is the amazing engineering: they have crammed SO much into a device so compact! When you have 4.5+ inch devices, it is easy to get stock components & dump them all in. To make this they had to reduce the component size to fit between those two surfaces just 7.6mm apart:A great camera, LTE radios (with gazzillion bands!), spectacular battery. And it weighs just over 100gms, 40gms less than the previous, smaller phone!

That is why Apple was pushing for microSIMs & the new dock connecter (Lightning), they need every millimeter. Even the camera system & the processor are smaller than its predecesor. Oh & why not adopt microUSB? iPhone dock is not just for charging & data transfer, it does audio & video too with third party speakers/docks etc. MicroUSB cannot carry out video hence they are sticking to their own tech.

Hardware wise everything is top notch. iPhone 4s was fast, had great gaming capabilities & now it is even better. According to the racing demo that was given, the graphics are now console level. A6 will be fast & power efficient.

The camera system has been revamped & made better than iPhone 4s, which itself was spectacular. And as Apple says, it is not about the megapixel count but the image quality. Pretty sure its the best there is. The screen is larger, but the phone is not a behemoth that needs a bag to be carried around. They have managed to improve the battery despite making the screen larger, LTE & a faster processor.

But it is not about specs, it about what you can make the device do with it. It has been 4 years & Android still lags. On Quad core processors.

This was a hardware event but I’ve heard ppl say that iOS is looking boring, dated & that there needs to be change. “Look at how Andoroid is evolving! Jelly Bean looks brilliant” they say. Yes, Android has changed a lot from what it was when it first shipped, it had to! But iOS didnt need to change, it looked & worked beautifully right from v1.0. And you make it like getting something perfect is a bad thing. iOS 6 comes with its slew of improvements & will be here on 19th September. Oh & iPhone 3Gs will be getting it too.

So what has Apple done with the iPhone 5?
Improved:CPU, Graphics, Screen, LTE, Camera, Battery, OS, Design.

“iPhone 5 is shit”
Oh well.

iPad 3 in India

The new iPad [or iPad 3] will be available in India 27th April onwards according to Apple’s Press Release.

Beginning on Friday, April 27, the new iPad will be available in Colombia, Estonia, India, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, South Africa and Thailand.

This is almost one year since the release of iPad 2. The prices are the same as that of the iPad 2 when it was launched & does not have the insane markup of the iPhone 4s.

The iPad 2 price has been reduced to Rs 24,500 [16GB WiFi] & Rs 32,900 [16 GB 3G+WiFi]. The new iPad will work with EDGE & 3G networks in India, but not 4G as the 4G networks being deployed in India are different from the ones in the US.

Will you be buying?

Retina Screen Comparison

Here are some screen comparisons between the Retina Display & the iPad 2 regular display. Can you guess which is which? Answer at the end of the pictures. [click on pictures for high resolution images]

The 3rd gen iPad is on the left, Pad 2 on the right.

The 3rd Gen iPad has better colours. The Reds, yellows, greens & whites are more vivid. I find the contrast of the iPad 2 to better though. Holding both at  arm’s length, doesn’t show much difference, the Retina display really shines when you pull up any text on it. Then it is like a magazine, reading on it will be a pleasure.

I did not have any wifi issues that others are reporting. I did find it to run a little warmer than iPad2, albeit slightly. It does not hinder usage in any way.

More updates will follow.

Originally posted on ________________:

Dear Rahul,

This is not going to be easy. But I will try. One sentence at a time.

Congratulations. Is that appropriate? That’s what people at work say when someone quits. And, despite the anguish surrounding your decision, this is supposed to be a happy day. At least I would like to think of it that way.

I expected you to finish in Adelaide. The same Adelaide where, in 2003, you found gold at the end of the rainbow. The same Adelaide where another colossus, Adam Gilchrist, retired four years ago, his wife and children sitting among the press, his voice breaking towards the end of each sentence, tears trickling down his cheeks as the press conference wound down.

But the Chinnaswamy Stadium fits well. That’s where it all began. And that’s where it ends. Like Gilly, you leave with your family and former team-mates watching over your retirement announcement…

View original 1,058 more words

iPad 3 [Updated]

Name:The next iPad will be called ‘iPad 3′.

Not iPad HD or iPad HD+ or iPad superHD. Apple doesn’t do complicated. When the iPhone resolution was bumped up, Apple chose ‘Retina Display’ & has marketed the hell out of it. Why would it want to dilute this brand? This also sets it apart from the competition.

Home Button: Yes, there will be a home button.

Size/Cheaper Version: iPad 3 will be 9.7 inches, as before.

There will not be a smaller iPad to “compete” with Kindle Fire. The iPad 2 will get cheaper & attempt to snatch Fire’s customers.

Specs:

  • New processor (A5.5, not A6)
  • 1Gb RAM (for the Retina Display apps)
  • LTE: This is a toughie. 70% No, 30 % Yes. If the iPad 3 was scheduled to be announced in July-August then it would certainly carry LTE. As of now, I dont think so.
  • Battery:Bigger, but will still give 10hrs (That brilliant display will need the juice)
  • Camera: May get bumped up to units used in iPhone 4.
  • Design: Same as before, slightly thicker to accommodate the bigger battery.

UPDATE [8.3.12]:

Spot on about everything except the LTE radio & the name. Apple trolled everybody by dropping the number! Expect the next iPhone to be just ‘iPhone’. In hindsight it makes sense…only the iPhone & iPad had numbers. Macs, iPods are all classified according to generation.1 Gb RAM should be confirmed once iFixit gets its hands on one .

To understand how badass that Retina Display is, click on the image below [via: MacRumors]

You can make a 42″ Full HD [1080p] TV with that resolution. And have 1 million pixels left over. And still get the whopping 10hr battery. For $500. Lemme know when the competition can match that.

How (not) to share your photographs

Bitten by the shutter bug, I have been looking up a lot of photography blogs/other people’s work. With media sharing taking over our lives, it is very important to curate what you put out there. In photography it’s almost guaranteed that out of a session you will get only a few really good pictures.

Some good advice:

The easiest way to show people that you take good photographs is to simply not show them every frame that comes out of your camera. To appreciate a photograph, the viewer needs to make some sort of emotional connection to it. It is very hard, if not impossible, to make such connections with a huge number of pictures in one set.

If you want me to make the effort to look through your pictures, you could atleast do me the courtesy of presenting it nicely. How many times have you come across pictures that have been taken in portrait & then posted without rotating them? It tells me that you apparently don’t care much about this, so why should I?

Hit up this link on how to sort your pictures so that everyone looks forward to going through them.

The Sad Life Of An Android Phone

The new version of Android, “Jellybean” [I was so rooting for Jalebi] may come out this summer. That’s right, even as forums are creaking under questions of “Will phone X getting ICS ” google maybe ready with Android 5.0.

Meanwhile only 2 handsets have ICS: Galaxy Nexus [shipped with ICS] & Nexus S [some regions, google seems to have stopped the updates now, citing some bugs]. This, when ICS was offically released way back in October 2011. Since then handset manufacturers have been dilly dallying, while their customers sit with fingers crossed hoping their device gets an update.

SamsungHTC Sony Ericsson have promised to begin the rollout in late march. If the past is any indication, only a few of the handsets from each company will end up getting the update & the close release date of v5.0 can only have adverse effects. Older phones that may have gotten ICS will probably be shunned as work on v5.0 begins. Jellybean on non-Nexus phones will probably not be available before end of 2012. It is entirely possible that Galaxy Nexus may have Jellybean before other devices get ICS. Meanwhile, across the divide the scene couldn’t be any different.

iOS 5 supports devices as far back as June 2009

So much for the Open Handset Alliacnce making manufactures fall in line, Andy Rubin must rethink his fragmentation statement. What’s to be done? Like they say: the world lives on hope…

OR

You could just get the iPhone 4S

Before And After The iPhone

This picture here sums up how big an effect the iPhone has had. The only other device that has done anything like this was the Motorola Razr.

20120208-130119.jpg

(via: Digeratii)

Attention To Detail

Fire up the browser on a Mac & Windows, load up any page. See the difference? It is attention to small details like this that makes working in the Mac a pleasure.

(click on the images to see them full screen)

Mac

Windows


Rules Of Writing

Been reading Mr.Vinod Mehta’s “Lucknow Boy: A Memoir” for sometime now. Quite a lot of fun.

An interesting paragraph:

No manual or school can teach you how to write. There are no benchmarks or ten simple steps you can cram. George Orwell however, laid out some goalposts for the person in ‘doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase’, and the rules  ‘that one can rely on when instinct fails’. He then proposed six rules:
  • Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech wich you are used to seeing in print.
  • Never use a long word when a short one will do.
  • If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it.
  • Never use passive when you can use the active.
  • Never use a foreign phrase or scientific word or jargon word if you can think of an everyday english equivalent.
  • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
I think this is something everybody should keep in mind.

Meme Apps

If you spend time on the internet, you will have seen memes [here is how you pronounce it, by the way]. While there are online meme generators like Memebase if you’ve wanted to make a meme on the fly [say on your smartphone], it can be tough. Accessing standard meme websites on small screens & flaky mobile data, takes the fun out of it. Thankfully there are some apps that make it simple & easy. Oh & did I mention, they are free.

For iOS:

Meme Design [App Store]

Just choose your image [popular memes provided, you can also use photos from your library], type the caption & share. It is a universal app, runs both on the iPhone & the iPad

For Android:

Meme Generator [Andoid Market]

or

Meme Maker [Android Market]

Again, choose image, add caption & you are done.

And if you want an application for your computer, well there are those too.

Mac OS X

Meme Generator [App Store]

iMeme [Download Link]

Windows

MemeGenerator [Download Link]

—–

Faceoff: Zite vs Flipboard vs Pulse vs Google Currents

With iPhone versions of Flipboard, Zite & introduction of Google Currents, there are now a lot of options for Social Readers/Media Aggregators. Here is a rundown of the top four

Google Currents [iTunes Link]

  • Google Sign on
  • Top half is dedicated to pictures
  • Can add RSS feeds of interesting sites or feeds from your Google Reader
  • The GUI is more android-ish than iOS [Too many buttons?]
  • Sharing to Facebook, Twitter [you must enter your twitter credentials in the iOS settings], tumblr, Google plus [Google plus is given unnecessary prominence]
  • Does not make use of any multitouch gestures[Multiple fingers, pinching]: Must tap to go back. Unintuitive, especially on the iPad
  • Functions more like a RSS reader than a magazine: You can add only sites, not entire sections.
  • Very slow to load articles
  • So far it is US only

Pulse News [iTunes Link]

  • Offers lots of customization, but can come off as complicated
  • Add feeds from google reader, your Facebook, Twitter [feeds as well as links]etc.
  • Intuitive
  • Standard sharing options: Facebook, Twitter etc
  • Fonts used are tiny, the pictures get cut off.
  • The presentation is cluttered, reminds more of a news website. Not very aesthetically pleasing

Flipboard [iTunes Link]

  • Clean grid presentation, easy navigation
  • Option to add entire sections or single feeds
  • Large collection of articles, esp. liked reddit section
  • Add feeds from google reader, your Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Flickr & almost any other social platform.
  • Can save to Readitlater or Instapaper
  • Multitouch enabled
  • You can setup an account [only an email & password required] so that you can access Your Flipboard on multiple devices [iPad & iPhone]
  • Time to setup your choice of articles takes patience.
  • Adding single feeds to Your Flipboard is a pain. You must navigate to each section, wait for it to load & then add.
  • Load times for articles is high. Even on broadband an article takes half a minute to load, more for graphic heavy sites
  • If the article is divided into sections & requires you to click to naviagte to the next page [for example, The Verge] more waiting
  • No option to get only text view [via Instapaper Mobilizer, for example] further irritates.
  • All this waiting detracts from the fluid reading experience you expect from a Social reader

Zite [iTunes Link]

  • Magazine like presentation
  • Has good ratio of picture & article preview without squeezing down the font size [Flipboard gives pictures more real estate than the text]
  • Multitouch enabled
  • You can setup an account [only an email & password required] so that you can access Zite collection on multiple devices
  • Adding sections is very easy: You are given categories to choose from & it does so with a single click
  • Option to pull articles from your Twitter feed, Google Reader, Delicious & Readitlater
  • Multitouch enabled
  • Standard sharing options
  • You can save articles to Readitlater/Instapaper
  • The app has a learning feature, you tell it what kind of articles you like, over a period of time it will learn & provide you a better selection. It is very nice & catches on quickly.
  • Articles load quickly & you have the option to get the entire webpage or a simple text view, like Safari’s Reader. If the article is split into multiple pages, it loads them too
  • Choice isn’t as large as Flipboard. For example, I could not find 500px or reddit feeds.
  • Not much in the way of eye candy

I personally find Zite to be the best of them all just because of the speed. It has almost all the features of Flipboard & gets me to my articles quickly. In first time use you can just open up the app & it loads articles to read, unlike Flipboard where you have to add before you can do any reading. Google Currents is at the bottom of the pile just because of its un-intuitive navigation.

My opinion: Zite> Flipboard> Pulse> Google Currents

Censoring the Internet.

A lot has been said on Internet censorship esp. with the recent statements made by Mr. Kapil Sibal. CIS has brought out some interesting points in their article. For example:

While Mr. Sibal uses the examples of communally sensitive material as a reason to force censorship of the Internet, out of the 358 items requested to be removed from January 2011 to June 2011 from Google service by the Indian government (including state governments), only 8 were for hate speech and only 1 was for national security.  Instead, 255 items (71% of all requests) were asked to be removed for ‘government criticism’.  Google, despite the government in India not having the powers to ban government criticism due to the Constitution, complied in 51% of all requests.

Is he really working for the betterment of the public or being self serving?

Read the full article “Invisible Censorship: How the Government Censors without being seen

 

Twitter for iPhone v4.0 Is A Design & Functionality Clusterfuck

Twitter for iPhone  is  was the most used app on my phone. In the last update they removed the search bar & now with today’s redesign ,they ruined it completely.

The choices make no sense:

  • THEY KILLED “SWIPE TO REVEAL” !!! This was the only feature that was stopping me from buying Tweetbot when they kicked out the search bar. Why remove a feature as simple and as elegant as this? It now takes me more taps to perform essential actions.
  • The font size is small & unadjustable.
  • Squeezing the main pane. iPhones have a 3.5 inch screen, adding graphics at the cost of functionality is never a good idea.
  • The obscenely big bar at the top with the twitter icon. It’s like the app is shouting at me “HEY, THIS IS TWITTER APP YOU’VE LAUNCHED. SEE THE BIRD? THATS THE TWITTER ICON. YEP”  I opened the damn app, I know what it does. I would rather have a slightly larger font than all this bling.
  • Thenavigation bar at the bottom is confusing. Stuff has been moved around , hidden & now must be hunted. Again, why?
  • Saving links to Instapaper/Readitlater has become  a chore. You must tap open the tweet, tap open the link, tap the icon at the bottom, select save. Four levels. When previously they did it with two, via ‘Swipe to reveal’. Unacceptable.
Twitter for iPhone was one of the best apps on iOS. Simple, clean, uncluttered & elegant. Now it’s a clunky mishmash.

What was the point of buying out Tweetie then? Twitter has removed everything that Tweetie had introduced [they pioneered swipe to reveal]

I guess it is time to move on…

—–

Update: Bought Tweetbot at a discount. Love it.

Note: You cannot log out of the Twitter app as such. You have two options:

  • Delete the app. [Tap & hold icon, tap on the 'x' when the icons jiggle]
  • Go to iPhone settings> Twitter > select account > scroll down & ‘Delete Account’. This will affect the integrated sharing via Mobile Safari, Photos & any other twitter apps that use the login.Of course, you can always add your account again.

Switching accounts quickly: Swipe your finger right to left across the navigation bar at the bottom.

Accessing Direct Messages [DM] inbox quickly: Swipe your finger over the “Me” tab, upwards.

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