Category: gadgets

LG G4 Stylus – Bad phone or bad support?

I am not sure if I was just unlucky, or if LG is really selling crap hardware. Well, up to some point, yes, LG is really selling crap hardware. But it can’t be just that.. or is it?

Well, the thing I know for sure, is that G4 Stylus stylus suck. It is not a stylus like the Samsung Note series. It is a standard rub-based stylus. That kind of stylus is not practical for drawing, or writing, just for minor sketches. I confess that I was stupid on not noticing that before buying it. But the chance on getting a note-similar hardware at a low price did not work as desired.

Other than that, that I am sure is LG crap, my remaining complains can be fault of LG support in Portugal. After less than a month of use, the screen got problems. Unfortunately, the phone was bought a little more than a month, and as such, the store did not replace the device. It was sent to support, that took a month to repair it.

The phone got back working. Sort of. At first it seemed like it was working. But after some time (far more than useful to complain) I noticed the lack of vibration. Yep, it came like that from the repair support. I couldn’t complain, so, I continued used it.

A cool thing on this phone was the double tap on the screen to lock it, and to unlock it. It worked… during some time. Then, sometimes. And now, rarely.

A friend said the buttons in the back were weird. I confess I liked them more than the common buttons in the side of the device. Or at least, I liked them while they worked. Now, sometimes I have to press for more than 5 seconds to awake the phone. Sometimes I get mad trying different approaches to try to get the phone awake.

But then I got lucky. And a friend offered me a Samsung S6 Edge +. And that luck sent bad luck to LG. I am returning the G4 Stylus for warranty.

BaseQi

Usually I do not advertise on this blog. In fact, this is not properly advertisement, but a review. But given I am happy with the product, yeah, it can be seen as advertisement.

I will talk about BaseQi, the Ninja Stealth Drive. Basically, it allows you to pop-in a MicroSD card into your MacBook keeping it all inside. I know this sounds a little pornographic. But if you have a small SSD drive, like me, you will be happy to duplicate this easy its space. There are some similar products with the SD card built-in, but then, you can’t replace it later if, for example, it gets non working. Also, there are some similar products with this same mechanism. For those, I can’t talk, as I did not try them.

To explain the idea, follows a set of pictures. Of course you have similar pictures in their webpage, but having pictures from an user can make you a little more confident.

First, the Samsung 128GB drive being added to BaseQI.

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Note how tight it fits…

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Now, put it on your Mac SD Card reader…

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And push it all in… just clean!

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Any.Do – The best task tracking system ATM

Any.DO-Logo-+-NameFor a long time I have been trying different ways to track my stack of tasks. I tried different approaches, from using paper (it is fun!), Calendar Mac App, Wunderlist, and recently Any.Do.

Paper is probably the best, as you can write freely, draw, scratch, rip, and other physical activities that are quite fun. But, unless you get a small notebook, it gets hard to be with you all the time. You could also scratch on a smart phone device, like Samsung S Note app. But when I am working in my laptop, I do not like to have to take the phone to add or remove entries. So, next natural step is to use a tool that syncs tasks between devices.

Wunderlist is cool. Cool enough for me to use it for some time. It has the fun fact that it keeps finished tasks scratched, just like you might do in paper. Nevertheless, the app is (or was, when I tried it) quite limited. You could have different todo lists, but it was hard to see them all at once. You could add some manual tags to tasks (I did that for some time), but it got boring. And it wasn’t easy to sort tasks. You needed to, somehow, change its date.

I tried for some time Evernote for that. It allows to add tick boxes to your notes. But again, not easy to see all tasks in one screen, unless you add them all in the same sheet. And if you do, it gets complicated to manage the order, and the categories, with lots of cut, copy and paste.

So, recently I am using Any.DO. It is also available for Mac, Web, and Android, so easy to sync around. And it has three main ways to see your tickets: per category, per time, or per importance. And in each of these three views, you can sort easily your tasks just by moving them around. I am very satisfied (for now, at least) with it. But I still wonder how much more fun and efficient it might get with the paid version. But a monthly (or yearly) subscription is not exactly what I want right now. Nevertheless, if I could buy the app (and not a service) I might be buying it soon.

Samsung note 10.1″

That’s right! I just bought an used Samsung Note 10.1″ tablet and I am loving it. Forget the idea that using your finger is the best approach to usability. Yours hands were not designed to write with your finger. In school you learnt how to use a pen and you used it for long periods of time in school and probably you- still use it from time to time in your work. Then, why not to use it to write in your tablet? Yeah! I know that your calligraphy is not the best, and you are ashamed of it. But, in the other hand, why not taking the chance to make it better. Probably if you tablet software can interpret it then other people might too.

Enough of trying to convince you. I still think that a tablet with a proper pen to let you write like you learnt in school is great. Of course it still fails when I try my artistic letters, but frankly it is very good. I congratulate Samsung by keeping their note line in the market, this is so great I can’t stop writing.

Help! Somebody take this tablet far from me, or I will not be able to stop and sleep. I’ll continue writing all night text and more text, most of it useless…

Watching 720p matroska on ASUS Transformer

Yesterday I decided to try and watch a series episode on my Eee ASUS Transformer (TF101). First, notice that I rooted it, and it is running CyanogenMod, with Android version 4.1.2.

The episode was stored on a SD card. It is not a fast SD card (class 4), but should suffice. The file was encoded with Matroska (MKV) in 720p. So far, so good.

Asked a friend about what player he would recommend. he said there were two, but just reminded of one name: MX Player.

Nevertheless, I didn’t like to notice that MX Player free version has advertisement, and therefore decided to try VLC. I use it on my Mac, and I like it (and its icon), so, why not test?

VLC installed cleanly, but when playing, it wasn’t able to render a single frame. From 5 to 5 seconds it changed the frame, but full of noise and encoding blocks. Gah, #fail.

Then, if VLC doesn’t work, let’s hear my friend suggestion, and try MX Player. Installed the free version, and then, needed to install the codecs package. Didn’t like much this approach… it could download the codecs itself, why to hide them in an app. Nevertheless, it installed with more or less effort. When playing, it was able to render the image perfectly, with acceptable number of frame per seconds (don’t ask how many, I don’t know, but enough to watch smoothly the video). The problem was that I could just watch the video, as there was no sound at all. No, it wasn’t a volume problem. Neither an option. As far as I could get after googling a little, there are more people complaining that MX Player doesn’t play sound when watching a Matroska file. Weird. #fail.

In one of those googling, somebody said he converted the Matroska file to MP4 with Handbrake. That is too much trouble for someone like me. But somebody else said that BSPlayer had a free version for Android that worked. Righto! Downloaded it, it installed cleanly and played the video at first. #win.

FlipBoard

After buying the Samsung Galaxy S3, I installed FlipBoard. The idea is pretty cool, but I am having some trouble using it.

First, it crashes from time to time. I couldn’t find out when/why does it crash, but it seems that it is related to the way it checks for new news, and some extra touches in the screen.

Then, I can’t understand how it updates. Some RSS feeds have news for more than twelve hours, and the application doesn’t show that news. Talking about RSS, it is not intuitive how to add them. At the moment most users consult personal blogs, and not just about a hundred of known websites that the developers find interesting.

And why does the Cover News are only selected from the standard news sources, and not from the RSS feeds supplied by the user?

Panoramic Photos – Hugin

Hugin is the only free alternative to AutoPano Giga/Pro that I have found. In these cases the number of photos is smaller (and mostly horizontal). This tool is not as good as AutoPano in guessing the position of photos, but does a good overall job.

3 x 5 MP photos

3 x 5 MP photos

11 x 5 MP photo

11 x 5 MP photo

7 x 5 MP photo

7 x 5 MP photo

Panoramic Photos – AutoPano Giga

These are my two first experiences with AutoPano Giga. They have plenty of problems. One of the photos has a lot of inconsistencies, most of which are my fault, for moving while taking the photos (and not just rotating over an axis). Nevertheless, I like these pictures.

17 5MP photos

17 x 5MP photos

 

13 x 5MP photos

13 x 5MP photos

Lion, and some more impressions

And here I am, back on my comments on Lion. First, I will let you know that the things that I am liking more in this new machine are not related with the operating system itself, but different approaches I am taking, like the usage of homebrew for installing UNIX software. Also, the hardware makes a difference, when you have an i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and an SSD (unfortunately 128 GB of disk is not that much).

Regarding Lion, I already figured a way to put spaces or desktops or whatever you would like to call, behaving like my old spaces, having a shortcut for each one of them, and pinning applications to specific desktops. Unfortunately, I am not able to change all spaces backgrounds at once. I can change one at a time, but I do not have a way to change them all. Unless I destroy all the spaces I have, change the first one, and recreate them all again. Not feasible, specially when you have pinned applications.

The way 801.1X configuration is done is not clear to me as well. Fortunately I got the profile ready to use, but the Lion interface could be more helpful. It says “contact your system administrator for a profile”, but if you are the sysadmin (usually when you buy a laptop) you need to know where to create the profile. So, probably a few more help would be good.

When using Colloquy or Adium with the US keyboard, I can’t type a key and maintain it pressed to repeat the letter. A popup appears where you can choose an accented letter. If you press a letter that cannot have an accent, it gets typed once, and no repeat is done. I do not think this is completely Lion fault, as other applications like Firefox behave correctly, but I do not think this is Colloquy and Adium fault altogether.

Regarding launchpad, I am not able to understand why would I need it. Switch to it and searching an icon is slower than typing the shortcut to spotlight and typing the application name. I wonder when Mac developers stop working on the eye candy and start worrying with the operating system problems. For example, since Tiger (at least, since Tiger that I can confirm) locales are broken for C++ programs.

Unless you have a very good reason to do the upgrade, I do not think Lion worth it. I updated my old mac to Lion only because it was running Leopard (not the Snow one) and a lot of software stopped being supported.

Apple takes one month to deliver laptop

Ordered a Mac Book Pro, 13″, i7 with 128 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM. Accordingly with Apple Store Portugal, if I buy this configuration, it gets deliver in two to four days.

I did not order directly on Apple Store, I like to have somebody to complain to. So, I ordered in an official Apple retailer, here in Portugal.

The order was done in 3rd November. Today, 30th November, the retailer did not receive the package yet. And I paid half the value already.

As I did not find any contact directly to Infinite Loop, I am complaining here. If you have any relation with Apple, please make them aware. It is inconceivable to wait one month for a laptop, not with the speed technology evolves nowadays, and in a global world, where a package can travel the globe in a few days.

My only comment is, APPLE FAIL!