Tuesday, October 02, 2007

MySQL AB messes up European geography

I recently received a MySQL newsletter on the "MySQL Northern Europe Customer Conference 2007", great, I thought, they'll do a southern Europe conference too..
I checked their site, and indeed they will, in Paris.
In Paris?? Southern Europe? Yes, and one in Munich, Germany (which is, by the way, north of London):
  • MySQL Northern Europe Customer Conference: London, Tuesday, October 16th 2007
  • MySQL Central Europe Customer Conference: Munich, Thursday, October 18th 2007 (In German)
  • MySQL Southern Europe Customer Conference: Paris, Tuesday, October 23rd 2007 (In French)
They might have to check their geography; North, Central, and Southern Europe have never been so close (and messed up)!
What about Norway and Spain? These are all Central European conferences for me..

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Inside the iPod Touch

iFixit (http://www.ifixit.com/) has opened and disassembled an iPod Touch.
It seems most of the space is dedicated to battery and screen while the electronics are all crammed in the bottom where the connectors are.
What remains unclear is whether there's the components needed for bluetooth or not.
As all other electronics from Cupertino it is a great work of engineering and design.
You can find all pictures here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

iPod Touch order cancelled, let me wait and see it first

Last Friday I canceled my order for the iPod Touch on the Apple Store (a plus for their on-line store, nice thing to be able to do..).

Reasons:
  • don't know if it will be open to third party software or not
  • might have a conspicuous price drop after just a couple of months (iPhone docet)
  • had a feeling I would repent having bought it in such a hurry
  • bluetooth would really make a difference for me (is it there or not?)
I'm a bit sad about this choice, but as soon as it will be out, I will run to the Apple Store try it hands-on and wait for someone to open it up and see what's inside, and then I will decide whether to buy or not.

Maybe I just don't trust Apple enough...Technorati Profile

Friday, September 07, 2007

Windows Mobile 6 on the Samsung i600


A couple of days ago I successfully upgraded the Samsung i600 mobile phone to Windows Mobile 6.
Having an Italian branded phone the operation was a bit tedious, it required de-branding the phone and setting the phone country to Netherlands in a hidden menu, downloading the upgrade from the Samsung website and setting the phone back to Italian.
The procedure is well described (in italian) in this forum.

The differences in the new OS appear mainly cosmetic, since the announced improved radio component software is very difficult to evaluate if not in a lab.

The most visible changes are some improved features in Outlook, which has better designed views and, for example, the possibility of deferring appointment alerts, previously they could only be deleted.

Internet Explorer is said to have been improved but the only difference I have perceived is an new animated logo, a blue ring.
Whereas rendering is still very bad.

A new feature which might be very useful, since software from Redmond is traditionally very buggy, is Windows update which, unfortunately, I have not managed to get to work (great if it was a bug in the bug fixing app!).

As far as previously present bugs, the Samsung RSS and Podcast apps are still internet configuration unaware and don't work through eventually configured proxies.
Too bad because one of the things I like in windows mobile is the logic behind the internet configuration.
You can add a connection and say, for example that it connects to your "office" and then configure a proxy that connects from th "office" to the "internet". But if applications don't read the configuration it is pretty useless.
Not that I will ever use this phone instead of an iPod!
I don't understand why the update is not easily available in some countries (the Italian, Austrian and French flags are shaded o the Samsung site), but as always when companies place stupid barriers the online community finds a workaround..

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Update: Does Apple's iPod touch have Bluetooth?

I just found this news on engadget, wow it would be very nice if it did have bluetooth I could connect it to my phone which has high-speed mobile connectivity and a decent camera!

I Just ordered the new iPod Touch!!

I couldn't resist, the new iPod Touch is so nice, and it expands on how I use my iPod today (mostly audio books and podcasts) so I ordered it immediately (delivery is expected on the first days of October)!
What I hope is that, apart the applications which Apple has included (which seem already very useful), a whole set of new and imaginative applications will be developed by the Open Source community. The multi-touch interface together with Wifi could be the starting point for a whole new set of on-line applications, but I wonder if Apple will open the iPod Touch to third-party software, or will it be necessary to hack it?

Let's wait and see...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Getting the Gmail App to work on a Samsung SGH-i600 (blackjack)

On my Samsung i600, Google Maps works fine (its a windows mobile exe) but i had problems running the Gmail app, I would find the "download Gmail for Samsung Advanced MIDP2" link but I would receive an error on clicking.
It turns out that its a java app and there seems to be no JVM on the phone.
After some googling and surfing I found these instructions for installing a JVM, the Java MIDP emulator on the phone (from mxit.defza.com):
  1. Go to handheld.softpedia.com.
  2. In the search box type IBM MIDP and search (GO).
  3. In the results page click the “IBM MIDP 2.0 Java Emulator” (Link) item.
  4. Proceed to download. (It’s free; +-2.5MB size) You can choose any location when they ask you for the “download location”.
  5. Install it etc.
Installed it and now, clicking the link installs the Gmail app which works, not at all perfectly and with horrible unreadable graphics, but it works.
Unfortunately the emulator is not well integrated in windows mobile and it is unable to detect my web proxy settings, so it works only on a direct internet connection and not on my office's private APN.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Audiobooks in no man's land

I often listen to the podcasts of the TWIT network (This Week in Tech, www.twit.tv), most of which are sponsored by Audible.com. A few days ago, I decided to try their service (until then I bought audiobooks through iTunes). Incredibly, every single book that interested me was present when I wasn't authenticated, but disappeared when I loged in. I asked their customer service, and they explained they didn't have the rights for selling those audiobooks in Italy.Yesterday I looked for the last book, On Intelligence, and even this was not available so a decided to cancel my Audible account and also sent the mail that follows.

I don't understand the logic behind this issue, maybe someone has bought the rights for these books in Italy, but why then can I buy them in paper form Amazon.co.uk?

Digital divide? Who knows..

Dear Sirs,
I do not care if I lost 2 credits in leaving your service, but I realized it is of no use for me, every single book I wanted to buy is not available for my country, Italy. I don't have any idea of what is the sense of this since no one else provides audiobooks locally, and I'm not at all interested in translations.
To be transparent in your service, you should post a warning, upon registration for Italians (and other countries with the same restrictions), that many of the books that seem available when you are unregistered are not when you login.
It seems that most of your catalogue is cut in half as soon as one logs in.
I would also suggest that you list the books anyhow, instead of hiding them (avoiding th user to check and double check), posting a message regarding the reason it is unavailable.

If you have a chance, I suggest you to remind the rights holder who does not allow these audiobooks to be sold in my country, that this kind of barrier is an incentive to piracy.
Everyone should have the chance to buy content easily and at a reasonable price.
This does not mean that I will pirate these books.
I will only have to buy them, in paper, from Amazon (where they are available), and this makes your service useless to me.

I have put Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson in copy, since their great podcasts are the reason why I tried your service and they should be informed in case they might be interested.

Regards,

Alessandro Canepa

UPDATE (1/8/2007)
Audible's answer:
Dear Alessandro,

I understand that you have some legitimate concerns regarding the service we provide and the audio that is available in your region. I really do apologize for the inconvenience that this may have caused you in regards to this situation. I can assure you that we, audible.com, is aware of the issue that many customers like yourself are having. This is a large concerns for us and we are diligently working with our publishers to obtain the necessary rights to make all of our books available to you and other regions. Unfortunately though, this is a lengthy process that our content department must try to overcome. Your business is very important to us and we are not happy to hear that you are not satisfied with the service. I will present this email to my superiors to make them aware of the issue. In the meantime, if there is anything I can do to make your time with Audible more pleasant please let me know. Again, I do apologize for the inconvenience and I hope that you are able to use our service in the near future once we have been able to make more of the books available to you.

Sincerely,
Mauro B.
Audible Customer Support.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Disk is still KO

I tried changing the electronics, attaching the disk both to a laptop and to a desktop but nothing. The Bios simply does not even notice it and I can't runa any utility on it (like spinrite).
Too bad, if I hear of some other way I will try...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fixing a broken hard disk

A few days ago my external UDB 60MB Lacie hard drive died, it does nothing just tirns on the light when connect. Since its way over the warranty period, I opened and found a Samsung disk inside, tried to connect it directly to one of my laptops but nothing, its dead.
I can't even run utilities such a Spinrite because it remains undetected by the BIOS.
What next?
I found the same exact disk on e-bay a bought it, when it arrives I'll try swapping the boards between the two and if the problems are in the electronics it should work. Electronics have no soldering now and can simply be unscrewed and replace.
I hope in some good luck...