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Too Many Messaging Services

Look at your phone’s apps and count how many messaging services like whatsapp or kakao talk you have. I bet there are more than two or three. On my phone, I have whatsapp, Line, Facebook messenger, Path/Talk, Skype, Telegram, Kakao Talk, Snapchat, Twitter, BBM, and probably more. It’s ridiculous. The problem is that none of these clients talk to each other, so if the person you want to contact uses a specific client, you have no choice and have to install that particular client.

In the recent weeks, I had to switch between phones due to travel. This action rears its ugly head when you try to keep these messaging services in sync, keeping your current account and chat history. It gets annoying real fast. I’m going to share my 2 cents on some of them.

First, whatsapp. If you have been following my tweets, I don’t like whatsapp. It is clunky and not keeping up with modern tech trends, yet you will be forced to have one since many people are on it for some reason. I mean there’s a reason Facebook was willing to buy them with a boatload of money.

So where do I start. One thing about whatsapp is its low barrier of entry. All you need is your smartphone’s phone number for verification. If you only have and use whatsapp on one phone, you are good to go. Thing is, we have more than one smart devices now. More and more people have more than one phone, in addition to tablets. Well, you cannot use whatsapp on multiple phones at once, and you cannot even install it on non-phone devices. You are pretty much stuck with your single phone. Now are you seeing why I think whatsapp sucks?

How about switching the SIM of the phone? No problem here. As long as you are using the same phone, whatsapp will still work, albeit it is linked to your older SIM number. Luckily whatsapp makes it easy to change your number if you want to. Note that if you register a new account with the new SIM, it will be a separate account. I have seen people that travels having multiple whatsapp entries since they don’t know any better.

What if you want to use a different phone? This is where the fun starts. I would be referring to Android from now on as iPhones have the ability to do full backups via iTunes or iCloud. You can simply reinstall and reverify the new phone with the same SIM, but you will lose your chat history and media as they are local to your old phone. So how do you retain them? This is where the process is broken. Basically, he app is actually keeping backups on your local phone, but getting them to a new phone is hardly something a lay person would be able to figure out on his/her own. Basically you have to connect your phone to your computer, copy the whatsapp folder to your computer, and transplant that to your new phone. Luckily his is fairly easy on Android, plus there are many apps that allow you to copy files via wifi. After the transplant on the new phone, simple install and verify the app and it will ask to restore a previous backup. Not easy, but doable. Now, one thing I found is that sometimes whatsapp simply refuses to do backups on the new phone for some reason. This can prevent future transplants to other phones as you won’t have the latest chat history. One way is to do a clan transplant. If there’ san existing whatsapp folder on the new phone, delete it first before transplanting the folder from your old phone. Also check immediately on the new phone if the app is able to back things up.

Now, let’s get to the usage itself. Whatsapp is very basic, and most people can figure it out. You can create groups, etc. You can auto-sync your friends as long as you have their phone numbers that they registered with whatsapp. But functionality is fairly barebone. You can attach pictures and multimedia, but there are no stickers nor VoIP. It feels like the yesterday’s messaging app. It’s less personal. Add on to that the inability to install the client on non-phone devices and lack of clients for PC, it just doesn’t feel like a service that fits the modern days of IM. It feels like the ICQ of mobile IM.

Second client I want to talk about is Facebook messenger, the IM solution from the company that bought Whatsapp. Like it or not, in terms of usability, Facebook messenger is probably one that is at the top. First, it is platform independent. You can install the client on phones and tablets, and you can use them all simultaneously. Furthermore, it’s Facebook so you can always access your chat on the web on any computer. Considering that most people are on Facebook already, it is likely that you can contact your friends this way. Furthermore, it is cloud based, meaning you don’t have to do backups and whatnot. All your chat history are stored on Facebook’s server, so whenever you access the service, they are all there. And since the client is linked to your Facebook account, it can be independent of your SIM/phone number.

Big problem is, it’s Facebook. Some people just don’t want to deal with Facebook (even though it also owns whatsapp). Second, people associates Facebook with the website, not the messenger client. Plenty of people I know are not even aware of the client, and some still think of it as part of the bigger Facebook instead of just as an IM service. So it’s unfortunate that even though Facebook has a superior client than whatsapp, most people still use he latter.

Usability is there. You can attach your standard multimedia stuff. You can even do VoIP. But the stickers are piss poor, less personal that I would like.

Next, I want to touch a bit on Skype. Skype is pretty much the de facto standard for free video conferencing, but obviously one can also use it for messaging. Personally though, I feel the client is too heavy for a simple messaging need, and no great stickers. Furthermore, there’s barrier of entry in creating yet another account with Skype/Microsoft. Other than that, it is platform independent, and cloud based.

Fourth one is Telegram. It is touted as a secure solution for the privacy conscious. It is actually a great platform/service. It is open source, and platform independent. You can have it running on your phone, tablet, computer all simultaneously. Yeah, whatsapp starts to look clunky right? In Telegram, all chat history is cloud based, so no need to worry about backups and transferring stuff. Verification needs a phone number, but it can even be a Google Voice number, freeing you from the traditional phone number. Alas, no stickers, and so far I have only one friend using it…

Last but not least, Line. I have a personal bias on Line, mainly because of the stickers. Yes, I am a sucker for stickers of things that I like. For example, no other services offer stickers of Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online. To me, Line is very personal due to the stickers.

Usability wise, it is in between. Unlike whatsapp, it has a PC client so you can keep on chatting in your computer (Windows and Mac). However, just like whatsapp, the mobile client can only be installed on phones only, and you can only use one phone at any time.

If you are switching SIM on your current phone, it’s straight forward like whatsapp. If you want to switch to a new phone, things get more complicated. Unlike whatsapp, you can link your line account to an email or Facebook so you are not tied to a single phone number (which is ironic that you cannot install it on a non-phone mobile devices). This allows easier log-ins on new devices. The problem is the chat history. The platform has some sort of cloud-based storage, but it’s not comprehensive and reliable as the client forces you to delete the current content if it detects a duplicate log-in. Furthermore, you starts fresh on any new device you want to use, forcing you to re download stickers and having no chat history unless you manually restore conversations. Backup feature is available, although it is also clunky. Unlike Whatsapp, you can email your chat history and restore it on another device by simply downloading the email attachment and having the app restores it. Problem is, it is per conversation so it can be tedious if you have many conversations going. Also, it doesn’t backup media.

My personal bias is towards Line. It is not flexible and it’s a hassle when moving to different devices, but it is still more personal to me than whatsapp. A PC client is also a bonus. If Line allowed installation and usage simultaneously on multiple mobile devices, it would be perfect. What won me over are the stickers.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I still end up with a slew of clients on my smartphone. A social messaging service relies heavily on what your friends are using. If they are more comfortable using a certain platform, you end up having to use that platform. Whatsapp is a clunky and dated platform, but most of my contacts uses it. Annoying, yes, but it’s the unfortunate side effect of the preference of the masses.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Installing Windows #rant

I am a Mac user, and there is a reason why I switched to OS X a while back. Well, apparently there is a Windows only program that I have to use. So, here’s an adventure in installing Windows 8.1 on my Macbook Air.

First thing first, I would need an ISO of Windows 8 for OS X’s boot camp. Why Windows 8? I have a Windows 8 upgrade key, and no, Windows 8 key cannot be used to activate Windows 8.1, despite Windows 8.1 being a free update. It’s amazing the things Microsoft went through to make sure legit users are inconvenienced.

Now the ISO itself. Guess what, Microsoft does NOT provide one. Yeah, Microsoft has gone above and beyond to ensure that you rather purchase a new Windows 8 computer. If you have a friend with a Windows 7/8 PC, you are in luck as you can simply download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant and it will allow you to download the installation set and create an ISO.

But what if you are stuck with only a Mac at your disposal? Well, Microsoft does provide an ISO for the Windows 8 Enterprise trial. (Hint: their link for the 64bit actually will download the 32bit version, and vice versa.) Yes, Microsoft, a huge software company, cannot even put the right link to their software. Just another step to discourage user from downloading an ISO, I guess.

After downloading that and running boot camp, I managed to install Windows 8 Enterprise trial. Can I use my key to activate this into a regular Windows 8? Nope. Apparently this trial version cannot be used for anything other than a trial. But at least I have a Windows installation now that I can use to download Windows 8 upgrade assistant, right? Nope. Apparently Windows 8 was not available for download in my area for some reason. WTF Microsoft? Still, all hope was not lost. I Googled “upgrade windows with only a product key,” and Microsoft has a utility that can download an ISO for Windows 8. Great, progress.

Now that I have a real Windows 8 ISO instead of the trial, I purged the Windows 8 Enterprise trial install, created a new boot camp with an actual Windows 8. So far so good. But then it cannot be activated since my key is an upgrade key. Yes, Microsoft makes sure that you cannot use the product you bought. Good thing there is an easy workaround for this one, using the “rearm” technique. I still had to make a phone call to a Microsoft rep that gave me a set of numbers, but finally my Windows 8 install was activated. So time to update to Windows 8.1. Easy, right?

Nope. Windows 8.1 is available from the Windows store, and Microsoft forces you to download it from the store (no ISO). If you use the utilities I mentioned above, they will tell you to go to the Windows store. Problem is, downloading Windows 8.1 from the store would always result in an error and failing to install. This was extremely annoying as the error happened AFTER I had to wait for the 3+GB download to finish. Subsequent retries forced me to redownload the whole thing again and again. Oh my Lord.

After browsing the net to find a solution, I finally decided to do a “reset” of Windows 8. This is a nice feature of Windows 8. It basically “re-install” your Windows 8 installation without deleting your data. Programs not from the store will be deleted, but it’s still more convenient that having to do an actual full re-install. Problem is, this process uninstalled all the Apple drivers and boot camp, so I had to re-install those afterwards. Oh, and of course there were 92 patches that I needed to download and install for every fresh Windows 8 install I did.

After days of downloading, installing, and installing stuff, finally, Windows 8.1 update from the store managed to run properly. Yes, finally! Such a ridiculous process. Really, does Microsoft expect a lay person to be patient enough to go through all these just to use a Microsoft product?

So Microsoft, if you want people to install Windows from your store like Apple, make sure it fuckin works. If you cannot do that, the least you could’ve done is to provide straight ISO downloads so people can simply do an update the traditional way. But no, you rather have your legit customers annoyed and confused.

There is a reason why I switched to OS X.

/rant

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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WWDC 2014 Impression

Apple was streaming the keynote live, and it is up for streaming on demand. This is a great trend as couch commentators like me can talk crap about it without having to wait for Apple to “post produce” it.

Anyway, let’s get on it.

As usual, the keynote started with a video of people saying how various apps have changed their lives. Looks like the focus is on the people. It would’ve been great if Apple had mentioned more groundbreaking apps instead of some useless ones like Candy Crush, but oh well. Tim Cook started with the usual stats. Mavericks vs Windows 8. Oh, Windows 8 only has 14% of market share. But 14% of how many users Tim? Remember that world wide market share of OS X is really tiny, minuscule compared to Windows. So even 10% of Windows users count as a LOT. Typical Apple reality distortion technique. Fact is, we are seeing more and more Windows devices in tablet form factors that are only $300-$500. 

Craig was up next to talk about the new OS X. Craig Federighi always seems like a d-bag to me, but the script of the keynotes and his jokes were usually quite funny. The joke was on trying to find new name for the next OS X. OS X Weed? That would’ve been awesome. :D So the next OS X will be named Yosemite. And, another video, showing the new flatter look, inspired by iOS7.

So, what’s new? Translucency everywhere. Kinda like Windows Vista. New dock (flat, just like right now if you put the dock on the sides), new trash can icon. Dark mode, with white on black translucent background. I have a feeling I will like the dark mode, a lot.

A big update is for the notification center. Now you can have different widgets on it. Just like… yes, Windows Vista’s Gadgets. Remember those? :D New Spotlight. In previous versions of the OS, Spotlight has always been on the top right corner, out of the way, simple. In Yosemite, it will be at the center of the screen with huge search bar. I don’t like it. It feels that it is on my way, blocking what I am doing. Why the change? It was fine on the top right corner. Context wise, it fits as the search icon is on the top right corner. In Yosemite, having it in the middle of the screen just doesn’t feel natural. Boo. On the bright side, you can do unit conversion on Spotlight now. Sounds like it’s baby step of putting Siri on OS X. Maybe next version. Spotlight has become universal search ala Siri.

Oh, Craig kept showing the translucency. Seriously, who cares? Do people really want to be reminded how Yosemite is copying Windows Vista?

Next, iCloud Drive. What? Remember when Steve Jobs announced iCloud, how it’s not another “drive in the sky.” Well, Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave now. iCloud is basically just like Dropbox/SkydriveOneDrive/Google Drive in Finder. I don’t think this is the vision of iCloud. Is this the signs of Apple crumbling without the vision of Jobs? Mail drop, basically using iCloud as a reservoir for your email attachments, kinda what Microsoft and Google have been doing (using OneDrive and GDrive respectively). Oh, the file size can be up to 5GB. Whoop dee doo, as free iCloud accounts has ONLY 5GB. :roll eyes: An interesting feature is the built-in markup within Mail. Signature on PDFs is also great.

Safari now has more awesome bar, with built-in Siri Spotlight. More power efficient, which is great (poor Firefox, but I still prefer Firefox). Demo by somebody named Brian. Err, yeah, not sure who he is… :D I don’t think Favorites in the search bar is good. If you only have few websites, sure, but I have a boatload of sites in my Favorites. I never realized the “Send to” feature though, even though it’s been there, at least on Mavericks. The auto shape and dialog bubble recognition of the new Markup feature in Mail looks neat though, but I hardly use the OS X Mail app anymore ever since I have the iPad.

Airdrop between iOS and OS X. Finally! Although I wonder if there’s a limitation on which hardware is supported. The Hand-off feature seems too good to be true. Will have to see how it works in real life. Ability to do a hotspot when you have an iPhone nearby is awesome though. iMessage syncing all messages with all devices. And phone calls too, including using the Mac as a speakerphone. Gee, sounds familiar… I think Palm did this, and Motorola also did something similar. Of course, Palm is gone and Motorola is bought by Lenovo. These features may not be new, but Apple’s implementation across all Apple devices and Apple’s presence would probably put these feature to the mainstream. Oh, and a call to Dr Dre, hinting on Apple’s purchase of Beats Audio.

Free OS X Yosemite in the fall, with public beta program in the summer.

100 million iPod Touches. Maybe it’s time to update that Tim. Oh, time for a jab at Android, and how people bought an Android device by mistake. Ha ha Tim, very funny. Your iPhone is not water proof yet Tim. What Tim Cook was suggesting is the superior experience of iOS, unless if you have A5 devices or older, which are bogged down by iOS7. Another jab to Android is fragmentation. Valid point this time. Malware on Android, 99%… Err, oookay, good point, but Apple has its own problems.

iOS 8. “Giant release.” Spoiler: new programming language with Swift.

Craig is back (since no more Scott Forstall). Interactive notification, eg. ability to reply to a message right in notification. Android has something similar, but it’s not universally supported, and the variants between OEMs don’t help either. Better Safari UI for the iPad. One thing I find annoying with the Mail app on iOS is that when I’m composing a new email, I cannot do anything else. No multi-tasking within the mail app. This is highly annoying. Luckily, looks like Apple noticed that, and on iOS 8, you can swipe down the compose “window” to get back to there mails. Nice! People probably won’t appreciate this as I see most people are still using web-based emails (instead of using the mail app to access their accounts).

The task switching screen is now cluttered with favorited contacts at the top. Not sure if this is a good idea as there’s no context between the task switching screen and contacts. On the iPad demo, the auto recognition of messages for calendar events seems neat. Spotlight on iOS gets richer ala Yosemite (and overlapping with Siri). This extends to the search bar on Safari. QuickType, predictive typing. Just like the various keyboards on Android like Swype or Swift key. Neat, but I rather have support for multiple language in one keyboard instead of switching keyboards back and forth. Continuity brings integration with iDevices. This is going to be great.

Messaging app gets a lot of improvement. I still think iOS Messages to be better than the dozens of SMS apps on Android. Video and voice messages. Nothing new, but iOS 8 makes it easier to actually do it right on the Messages app. The summary on group messaging is great. Many SMS apps, even well known ones, on Android cannot even handle location on Vcards properly (many not at all). The skit with Craig is pretty funny. I can see the auto reply audio messages can be frustrating though, with people sending unintentional messages. Looks like now Apps can share files, instead of importing and exporting stuff when dealing with multiple apps.

Enterprise, with Craig focusing on security and privacy. Those two words seem to be the buzz words of the year. Imo this is where Android is lagging.

Health. Yup, the rumored Healthbook, dubbed HealthKit and Health app. Integration with other apps and Mayo Clinic. This is going to be interesting, and we will see which companies that can adopt this. Healthcare companies are usually slow in adopting new techs. Interesting is also the mention of Epic. Many hospitals are using Epic, so this can be huge. See, a lot of tech bloggers only care about iWatch, but Apple is taking a much bigger leap than the others by working together with healthcare providers. That’s real innovation. 

Family Sharing, a long awaited feature. It’s basically the ability to aggregate purchases of family members, and great notifications for parents.

Updated Photos app. Seriously, I think it’s time for Apple to just consolidate iPhoto into this. Updating the stock Photos app seems dysfunctional when there’s iPhoto (that seems to be ignored). The new editing features are really great. It basically make the editing I usually do in Lightroom into a simple scrollable setting. The inter-devices editing is great as previously, you will have multiple copies of the photo. Photos on the Mac? WTF happened to iPhoto? Did Apple just kill iPhoto? Oh, and an app for Windows too? This is BIG imo.

And now, your photos, and videos, will be using the iCloud drive’s storage space (previously, photo stream doesn’t count). Oh and yes, stingy Apple only gives you 5GB free. For photos, that may be okay, but for videos? Come on Apple. Of course, Apple wants you to pay more. 99c per month for 20GB. In contrast, Google gives you 15GB free. Microsoft gives you 7GB free, and an additional 3GB if you use the auto camera upload feature. Apple’s 5GB free doesn’t look as great anymore. Apple has 200GB plan for $3.99 a month. This is actually not that bad. In comparison, Google gives 100GB for $1.99 a month, while Microsoft wants $100 annually for 200GB. Dropbox, which imo is the gold standard, offers 2GB free (with many promotions to add more free storage), and 100GB for $9.99 per month. So iCloud drive is not bad if you are willing to spend some money, but for freebies, you get better deal elsewhere.

Okay Hey Siri, basically a copy of Okay Google. No demo, so I wonder if this would be more of a feature for the new iPhone. I would think the “always on” feature would drain the battery on current and older iPhones.

Tim is back. Now developers can bundle apps. App previews, which is just a video trailer/preview for an app, something that is nothing new on Google Play. TestFlight, ability for debs to invite users to beta test their apps. Craig (Superman… Really? :roll eyes) came back to the stage with some new features form the SDK, namely extensibility. It allows apps to share things back and forth more openly, just like Android, but Craig said it is still secure. Yes, hopefully more apps will utilize the sharing feature. Widget on notification tray. By the way, the extension has three dots, just like… Android. The extension on Safari seems awesome though. The demo is for Bing translate, but I’m hoping there will be deeper extensions to allow things like Adblock or things like that.

Third party keyboards. Say what? Yeah, now iOS allows third party keyboards. Hopefully there will by Swype for iOS. TouchID for 3rd party apps. Camera APIs for manual controls. I can sense more fancy camera apps. HomeKit API, common protocol for home automation. CloudKit, basically offering developers a free “server.”

Metal, replacing OpenGL. (?) Yeah, Apple was big in pushing OpenGL ES as the standard, but now that they are the major player in portable gaming, looks like Apple decided to do its own, called Metal. SpriteKit for more casual games. SceneKit, to create 3D games easier, I guess? I sense Apple pushing more into gaming. Maybe a new beefier iPod Touch? Of even games on an Apple TV? Very interesting, but I wonder if this is more of an incentive to make games exclusive to iOS.

New programming language. This is very big. From Objective-C to Swift. Native Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. It is going to be interesting how this would attract new developers, and how current developers would adopt it.

iOS 8 in fall, supporting anything with an A5 chip onward. Yes, no iPhone 4 there, so that’s it for iPhone 4 users. The support for A5 is important as many small businesses are still using the iPad 2 (since Apple themselves was still selling it until recently).

Tim returned to wrap up the keynote. No hardware here folks, purely software. We actually saw a lot of new stuff here. iOS 8 is pretty much redesigning iOS under the hood with Metal, Swift, and the various Kits in the new SDK. Now I’m actually excited to see what Apple has in store for the iPhone 6 to take advantage of many of these new features. My 2 cents.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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WWDC 2014 Prediction

Obligatory post about the next Apple event. To be honest, I don’t feel like it’s going to be as exciting as some people would be hoping. Part of the excitement of past Apple events was the performance itself, by Steve Jobs. His mastery in the presentation is what makes the events enjoyable imo. Now, it relies more on the products.

So, what to expect on this WWDC? Well, the banners are up, so we will see announcements of iOS 8 and the next OS X. The next OS X is rumored to be called Yosemite. There are rumors that it will get some design cues from the “flatness” of iOS7. I think the big push will be on tagging. I think Apple is inching itself away from the traditional file system. Tagging is helpful, but it is not pushed as much as it is supposed to. Many apps still rely on the old file names paradigm, thus only provide that interface to the user.

Another interesting step is whether Apple is going to introduce OS X on ARM. I think this will be the next big thing. It’s no secret that Apple has prototypes of MacBooks running their Ax SoC. The move to 64 bit on the A7 is a big hint on what’s to come. These SoCs are becoming more and more powerful. Sure, they won’t be challenging intel in a Mac Pro anytime soon, but imagine an even lighter and thinner Macbook with even better battery life. And while on it, comes with built-in cellular radio. That would be THE laptop for everybody.

iOS 8’s banner has what seems to be an ocean background. I’m hoping for waterproof iPhones, but I think this will be more about the iOS, not a new iPhone. Can’t expect too much other than for Apple to fix the bugs of iOS7, and optimize it further so it is lean and fast. Right now, even on 7.1.1, my iPhone still has the annoying springboard restarts, even when it is just lying on the table. That’s ridiculous. But typical Apple, I’m afraid they will focus more on utilizing the co-processor of the A7 SoC, thus pretty much rendering anything with the A6 or older to be “less desirable.” Planned obsolesce. Annoying, but won’t be too surprising. When I had the iPhone 4, I thought I would not need to get any newer iPhone. It runs iOS6 okay. I upgraded to the iPhone 5 mainly for the camera and RAM. But we saw iOS7 putting the aging iPhone 4 to its knees. Even A5 devices are not doing so hot on iOS7, and Apple is still selling the 4S and iPad mini. Apple is using software to entice people to upgrade. I just hope Apple sees the legacy they have created. Due to the popularity of the iPad, there are a lot of people and businesses that are still using the old iPad 2, or even the original iPad. Imo Apple needs to start thinking about legacy support. The least Apple should do is optimize iOS8 to run great on the older devices, instead of just putting in more useless animations to make the older devices buckle.

Another rumor is Health book and wearables. There are leaks of a new Health book app, and the rumors of wearables from the legendary iWatch rumor to simply certifications of health/medical devices that are compatible with iDevices. I have a feeling the later to be more accurate. And I still think Apple won’t do an iWatch. The iWatch was simply a rumor conjured up by the tech bloggers, just like the rumor about Apple making an actual television. The tech bloggers keep using the iWatch rumor so much that they themselves are believing that it would be real. Personally, nah.

Some hardware rumors are an updated Apple TV. I think at least Apple need to update the chip as the last Apple TV is still running a single core A5. However, this can wait for the later events, not in WWDC.

How about new Macs? Apple is just starting to ship the new Mac Pro, so I doubt anything new on that. Intel does not have a full refresh on their lineup yet, so I don’t think any of the laptops would see a refresh. The rumor is for a 12″ retina Macbook Air. Not so sure about this, but the Macbook Air do deserve some refresh on their screens. More and more Windows tablets have better screens than the current Air. If Apple is doing a new hardware design, I think it would be linked towards the goal of making an ARM based Macbook, so I don’t know if we will see anything right now.

The only hardware remaining that has not received Haswell treatment is the Mac mini, but updating the Mac mini is not that exciting unless Apple is doing some major hardware update (making it look like a mini Mac Pro, for instance). There’s a rumor of a cheaper iMac, but even if that’s the case, I think that will be only for the educational institutions, something that Apple has been doing in the past. The current iMacs are all running pretty up-to-date hardware. If Apple need to do something, my wish is to make the fusion drive as standard.

Another rumor is the iPad Pro, or something like that. Basically a larger screen iPad with multi-windowing system. Maybe that’s what iOS8 will bring. Samsung definitely thinks Apple would do this as they came out with their 12″ Tab Pro. I personally think the 12″ ARM running Macbook to be more plausible than this larger iPad.

On the business side, there’s the purchase of Beats audio. However, I don’t know how this would relate to WWDC. Even if Apple is announcing some new music streaming services or whatnot, the typical September media even would be more appropriate.

We will see what will happen in the next few days. I have a feeling this will be focused on developers, not hardware, so it might be disappointing to the gadget-lusting tech bloggers. I can’t wait for the headlines next week about Apple can no longer innovate and that they are doomed. 

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Attack on Titan dub #rant

It’s been a while since I blog about anything, but of course, it’s time for another rant. :D

Yes, Attack on Titan is already dubbed in English. I usually don’t like the idea of something being localized, but I have mixed feelings as technically Eren should be speaking in German, not Japanese.. :D But that’s beside the point. Dubbing, I mean localizing anime that is originally in Japanese makes no sense in this modern age, unless you have phobia against Japanese language. I would like to point out that even Chinese movies are now shown in theaters in original Chinese, not dubbed. Korean dramas are never dubbed. So obviously the public can accept the idea of watching a show in foreign language and reading subtitle. But Anime? “OMFG I DON’T WANT TO READ MUST BE DUBBED!!!” :roll eyes: No seriously, those are the responses from a LOT of people, including those claiming to be anime fans. Apparently to them, society only speaks in English.

Enough of that commentary, and back to Attack on Titan. My benchmark is Yuuki Kaji, the seiyuu of Eren. He is a pro seiyuu, having voiced a LOT of anime and video games, including Hope in FF-13 and Haruyuki in Accel World. His performance is just top notch, thus he is frequently appears in anime, either as the main or supporting characters. The English voice actor is Bryce Papenbrook. I have no idea who he is, but apparently he’s also the English voice actor of Kirito in SAO. Whatever. The performance will speak for itself.

On the video, fast forward to minute 18. Let’s start with the Japanese version of one of the key scenes in episode 1, when young Eren saw his house destroyed and his mom eaten by a titan.

Note voice acting, when Eren is calling for his mom, when he’s running, his shock when seeing his house and the titans approaching, and his scream when his mom is eaten. Also notice the performance of Eren’s mom. You really sense the desperation and panic. That’s called voice acting.

Now the English dub. Fast forward to minute 17:50 or so.

First, Armin sounds like shit. Seriously, it’s the typical 90s generic dub voice. The Japanese version used a female seiyuu, and it adapts to the character well. But obviously in English, they have to force a male VA, and it just doesn’t work. Let’s hear Eren. Oh man, talk about just reading a script with made up over-dramatization. When Eren is running, you don’t sense any panic nor urgency in his voice, only some artificial hysteria. Oh, and typical “localization,” they have to add dialogues that are not there in the original. When Eren noticed the titans are coming, he only gasped in the original. But in English, they have to add “Oh no.” Why? Because the “acting” is not good enough to reflect the same scene so a dialogue has to be added to tell the audience what he’s thinking? Come on. “Isoge Mikasa” becomes “Hurry up damn it.” Yes, using profanity to mask your crappy dub job. Seriously, WTF?

And then Eren’s mom, simply reading a script. There’s very little sense of urgency and sounds more like a nagging woman than somebody that actually cares about Eren and Mikasa. In the Japanese version, she said something about “at this rate, all three of us…” It reflects their desperation and helplessness of the situation. In the dub? “You want all three of us to die?” Seriously? So Eren’s mom becomes a bitch that want to shift responsibility to the kids as the reason they would die? I guess it’s typical of the western culture to blame somebody else huh. This is why I extremely HATE dub. There is NO REASON to change dialogues in a way that it changes the characters. It’s bull shit. English dub producers seem to think that they are suddenly the “creator” and can change things willy nilly. Bull effin shit. ZERO respect of the source material.

When Hannes picked up Eren, the dubbed Eren said “Put me down you bastard.” Obviously no such profanity in the original. Again, using profanity to mask a crappy dub job, typical bull shit English “localization.”

And finally, the climax of the scene, when the titan picked up Eren’s mom. In the original, Eren simply screamed “Yamero!” with all his might. In the dub? “Stop it no…” LOL. It just happens in Japanese, “Yamero” has three syllables. You might say I’m nitpicking, but I guess they need to add more syllables to match “Yamero.” This is another reason that dubbing just does NOT work. To match syllables, you end up making the situation a bit awkward and/or unnatural. That’s like watching English movies dubbed in Japanese. It does NOT work.

Yes, I criticize Japanese dub the same way on contents that are originally in English. The difference is, you don’t see people saying they have to watch English movies in Japanese dub, unlike anime where the number of people with phobia against Japanese language is astounding. You would think in 2014 there is more tolerance for foreign languages and cultures, but I guess not.

So there you go. In short, bull shit dub job that changes dialogues and characterizations, pretty much the typical English dub, done by producers with no passion for the original material, and no respect towards the original. Oh yes, let’s add profanity some more to make it more “adult.” Bull shit.

On the other hand, I would be interested if they dub Attack on Titan in German.

/rant

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in anime, rant

 

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Restoring from Time Machine on Thunderbolt Drobo

Apparently I tend to make my life more complicated than it should. I have been backing up my Mac to a Time Machine on a Thunderbolt Drobo. No problem, right? Well, I guess I spoke to soon.

Doing a complete restore of a Mac from a Time Machine is pretty straight forward using OS X’ Migration Assistant, but in real life, the result is not usually perfect, and can be quirky. Of course, I have to add an additional confusion to the mix, by using a Drobo. I love Drobo, but they can initiate a heart attack when they do not behave as expected.

The scenario is, I wanted to transfer the content of my Mac to another. There are many ways to do this, but OS X’ Migration assistant is usually pretty foolproof and fairly easy, especially since it has the option to do it from a Time Machine backup so you don’t have to have the original machine. So I reformatted the target Mac with 10.9, connected my Thunderbolt Drobo, and Migration Assistant could not seem to find it. Uh oh. So I set up the target Mac as a fresh Mavericks install, and although System Information detects the Thunderbolt Drobo, it’s not shown in Finder. A knowledge base from Drobo said that I have to have Drobo Dashboard installed. 

I downloaded and installed Drobo Dashboard, and the Drobo is mounted. Great. So I started Migration Assistant again. No go. Seems like Migration Assistant kinda did a “reboot” to run. Well, based on the knowledge base from Drobo, since it needs Drobo Dashboard to mount the Thunderbolt Drobo, that means Migration Assistant will never be able to recognize the Thunderbolt Drobo as it started before Drobo Dashboard is loaded. Double uh oh!

So I dug up the drobo box to get its USB cable. Meanwhile, I let the target system to update itself to 10.9.2. After 10.9.2 was installed, I tried Migration Assistant again, saving the USB route as last resort. Luckily, the Time Machine partition was shown. Hallelujah!

Moral of the story:

  1. Although restoring form Time Machine works, sometimes it is easier to just do a direct migration from the old Mac. So if you buy a new Mac, don’t sell or reformat the old one yet until you get everything transferred
  2. Update the target Mac to the latest OS X version and its patches. 10.9’s Migration Assistant did not recognize the Thunderbolt Drobo, but apparently 10.9.2 did (with Drobo Dashboard installed)
  3. Thunderbolt is great and fancy, but don’t dismiss USB just yet

Well, just another doki-doki adventure with Drobo.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Merry Christmas!

legalhigh santa

Excellent deduction Komikado. :D Just started watching this J-Dorama, Legal High.

Merry Christmas!

 

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in funny

 

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