Thursday, September 13, 2007

OK, I will do second backup NOW!

Last night I came across a sad story about a guy who loose almost all of his data, including some voice files of his passed mother.

Well, I do have backup. For work, I got one extra hard disk in Mac Pro, which got synchronized with the main HD whenever I am having lunch in weekdays. At home, I have tons of old harddisks storing my huge music library. In my Linux server, I scheduled important files backup to another drive every single night. But is it a bulletproof solution? I know it's not.

What if my office got fire? Then both the HD in Mac Pro will be gone. What if my home got fire or theft? Then all my personal data and work are gone. OK, may be these are a little bit extreme. How about if the power supply of my computer got surged? The result is the same. One backup = no backup.

So I just subscribed Mozy. It recently got a Mac backup solution. For about USD5 per month, I have unlimited storage for backup. Though it may take month to perform a complete backup of all my stuff (well, the approximate upload rate stays at about 60KB/s), for long term, it should be a bulletproof solution. Just no need to get worried about backup anymore.

I am glad that I have read the story, and even more glad that I have made the decision immediately.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

iPod touch - not good enough

Steve Jobs just announced the iPod touch today. I don't like it, because...

1. 16G ?
For a 80G iPod user, I am already filled my 5.5G iPod with over 60G of Apple Lossless audio files. How could I accept an brand new iPod with 16G space? OK, the new iPod Classic has 160G. But we need a better PMP. Only the new iPod touch can deliver this. So should we buy both iPod touch and the iPod classic together? Hey Steve Jobs, I want an at least 80G iPod touch!

2. WiFi?
May be in States this is practical. But in HK, only having WiFi is not enough! Give me bluetooth for both network access and A2DP!

3. iTunes WiFi store?
Where is it? (in HK)

4. Starbuck?
All I can see the plans for implementing "Starbuck" music feature is in the States. Where is it?

As iPod get more functionalities builtin, I am more tempted to perform a comparison with my Dopod U1000.

a) Both can play music
iPod has better UI and audio output quality. But U1000 can play much more variety of audio types. (ogg, flac, wma...)

b) Both can play video
But U1000 can play more video types (DivX, Xvid, wmv...)

c) Both have WIFI

d) Both have browsers
May be the user experience in Safari is more pleasing. But Opera Mobile is not that bad!

e) Both can play YouTube

f) Both is touch screen, and wide screen
Just that iPod is multi-touch, and U1000 is argh...single touch. ;)

g) a2dp?
U1000 only.

h) gps?
U1000 only.

U1000 only.

j) Camera?
U1000 only.

k) Install new applications? iPhone will soon be able to easily to have this. I think iPod touch will have the same chance. But installing new application for Windows mobile is just a piece of cake, plus there are so many applications out there...

l) Storage size?
iPod touch has 16G. U1000 has 8G (microdrive) + 4G SD = 12G.

m) price?
Oh....iPod completely wins in this category.

So as I have an U1000, I don't need iPod touch. :)

Blogged with Flock

Monday, September 03, 2007

Why I leave Palm and Uses Windows mobile

Actually, for this topic, I don't need to say much, because the Engadget team has say it all. But below is my Palm's experience.

I started as a early Palm user from Palm IIIc-> TRGpro -> m505 -> Clie NR70V -> Clie NZ90 -> Treo 650 + TX. In fact, I would claim myself as a mobile gadget freak, as I spent most of my $$ to mobile gadgets. I like Palm at those days, because Palm OS has many advantages over other platforms (Symbian, Pocket PC 200x/Windows CE). Applications are plenty, and I can achieve many things on the go. When I bought my Treo 650, I hope the next Treo will have Wi-Fi, HSDPA, native a2dp, bluetooth 2.0, better camera resolution, bigger screen, supports more multimedia codecs. I die for a bigger screen (consider I have been a user of NZ90/NR70V), but unfortunately Palm TX is not a phone. I wait and wait and wait, and eventually I loose my patience and buy the TX, hoping it's a good companion to my Treo. Believe it or not, the TX can't use Treo as a phone modem! The phone list driver in TX, no matter how I try and look for any updates from Palm site, has no entry for Treo 650 at all. I sent an email asking for this to Palm support. Well they are so helpful, that, after months of emails back and forth, the major answer I have is that their Palm engineer is (still) working on the issue. OK, Palm doesn't announce any better Treo device, and they don't provide updates to their existing Treo 650 to solve my problem. I am totally disappointed.

Sometimes later, I keep getting news from Palm that pushed me further away from Palm:

1. Palmsource is acquired by Access.
2. OS 6 is dead
3. ALP won't be released shortly. (Consider as of now, Sept 2007, we still don't see any device with ALP released yet)
4. The Treo 750V is released!

For some period, I am actively looking for a replacement for my Treo, still thinking that, hey, let's wait for Palm longer to see if there is any better device it could come out. I don't want to switch to Windows mobile, because of the past bad experience. There is not much option available at those time. So I switched to use Nokia E70. Now my Palm TX can go online. That's good. But the limited memory of this device really drives me crazy. Eventually, I settled with Dopod 838pro (Or HTC Hermes/CHT9000 or whatever it is called).

Switching to Windows mobile, initially, is really a painful experience. Compared with Palm, it's slow, required reset much often, and worst of all, it really needs an XP machine to work with (my major OS is Mac OS X) But after fighting with the device for about a month, I finally start to enjoy it. But do note, that kind of experience should be about the same for whatever a new platform we are using. It took me about the same to get familiar with Palm when I first play with Palm IIIc.

Now I am using HTC U1000, wm6. This is the best mobile device I ever have up to now. Windows mobile 6 provides a much stable and responsive user experience. I especially like the Opera Mobile that comes with it. It has multiple tabs, good javascript and html/css standards support, not to mention good unicode support. BTW, bad browsing experience is my another major complaint on Palm's platform. Blazer can support UTF-8, but it's painfully slow and buggy (or stupid). Other Palm browsers doesn't have good unicode support.

Recently TCPMP flash video plugin, which enable watching all YouTube videos, really makes my U1000 the ultimate entertainment device. Imagine you can watch practically anything you want in a 5" widescreen device on the go. With recent purchase of a Sony BT stereo device (Sony BRM1), and some registry hack, a2dp becomes a much enjoyable experience with WM device. In fact, I think it sound already better than most Sony Ericsson/Nokia a2dp mobiles.

The HSDPA plus the easy shoutcast support in WM media players allows me to listen to my custom made icecast server on the go, in 128kbps bitrate. Together with they Sony BT dongle, I can just put my U1000 inside my bag, and listen to my home streaming server freely, including volume up/volume down, skipping song.

So until ALP platform devices can provide me a better experience, I will stay with windows mobile then.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My most used Mac applications

Below are my most used Application List in Mac:

1. jEdit

Actually I have tried many editors, including Textmate, TextWrangler, BBedit, Smultron. But I settled with jEdit for its powerful plugins, including sftp support (which is a must for me), customizable and extensive syntax highlighting support and customizable keyboard shortcuts.

Another big reason is its multi-platform support. It's a very painful experience to use another editor whenever you need to change OS environment. As jEdit is in Java, it can be run in Windows, Mac and Linux.

2. iTerm

A great alternative to Terminal. As compared with Terminal, it has multiple tabs, and fast shortcut to bookmarks. Previously versions of iTerm has problem of screen refresh slow down when a session is opened for a long time. Recent versions has fixed this and quickly become my favorite app. (Well, note that starting from Leopard, Terminal will also have tabs. Wow!)

3. muCommander

A great sftp/ftp application. Another cross-platform application. Beside sftp and ftp, it also support SMB and http. One of its killer feature is, you can perform file transfer across different servers directly, no special requirements on the remote servers! (as opposed to some ftp programs in Windows in order to achieve this). Though you can only have 2 columns opened for 2 servers in one window, you can create more windows of this app and connect to more servers. Files can be drag and drop across diff. windows (and hence different servers!). Another feature I like is its keyboard oriented navigation, which allows me not to touch the mouse at all.

4. VLC

A great media player which support huge list of video formats. It can be a great alternative as a music player also. One thing I don't like iTunes is that it force you to add the music files to its library before they can be played. But not every music file (mp3 etc) you would eager to add to the library. For this case, I willl drag the files to VLC.

5. CotVNC (Chicken of VNC)

Best VNC client in Mac. It even supports Bonjour to discover VNC servers in LAN. Together with ssh tunnelling (using ssh command), I can perform VNC connection to many remote PC/Mac behind firewalls. Oh, for Mac VNC server, you can try Vine Server (Vine)

6. Parallels

I don't think I need to tell you what it is. Actually I think it is a killer application for Mac, which drives many people to use Mac hardwares. Being a programmer, Parallels allow me to run a Ubuntu server inside Mac, not to mention to use IE7 for testing web page layouts.

7. Skype

For video conferencing, I think the quality (especially voice) is even better than iChat.

8. Thunderbird

Add-ons support and more fine-tuned settings is why I keep using Thunderbird instead of Apple Mail. Besides, it's also a good RSS Reader and newsgroup reader too.

9. NeoOffice

You can also try OpenOffice. But NeoOffice offers a much better Mac user experience.

10. QuckSilver

Hands down the killer app. for Mac. Apple Spotlight even not comes close. You won't believe you can do so many things with your keyboard.

11. Journler

If you look for well categorized notes application, this is it. But it can do much more than that. It has Smart Folder, tags, super fast keyword search, blog support, iLife support, embbeded browser..... If you know how to sync its data files to multiple Macs, then your essential information/notes/ideas is always with you.

12. Camino, Firefox, Netscape, Opera, Flock

You may not believe me. But I do use All of them. Each serves its own purpose, and has its own strength for different purposes. Camino is a fast, mac oriented UI and mozilla rending engine browser. Firefox provides huge of addons, and hands down the best browser. Netscape (only v9 or later!) provides a fine-tuned firefox experience, it feels a little bit faster (at least for start-up) and add some good tools by default. Opera is the fastest browser, plus you can use it for BT too. Flock provides great integration with Flickr (and other photo services) , blogs, bookmarks services. It's also mozilla based too.

You should try every of them to see which one suits your needs most.