Brunei iPad 2 Pricing from AV Electronics

I believe I’ve stumbled upon the iPad 2 pricing for tomorrow’s launch. Cash price is matches as Singapore’s prices.
** hint: check the Facebook link for iPad 1 and improvise ;-) **
**update: yup prices are confirmed correct**

iPad 2 Wi-FI

  • 16GB: B$668 / B$696 (Cash/Normal)
  • 32GB: B$798 / B$832 (Cash/Normal)
  • 64GB: B$928 / B$967 (Cash/Normal)

iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G

  • 16GB: B$848 / B$884 (Cash/Normal)
  • 32GB: B978 / B$1019 (Cash/Normal)
  • 64GB: B$1108 / B$1155 (Cash/Normal)

Streaming UBDFM on iOS Devices

You can stream UBDFM natively, without installing any application, on any iOS device (iPhone / iPod touch / iPad) by

This is shown pictorially bellow and may not be a perfect solution, I heard that it does not play in the background but I’ve tested it on my sister’s iPad with iOS 4.2 and it seems to work flawlessly. Feedback is appreciated =)

Pictorial Walkthrough

  1. Open Safari and go tohttp://bit.ly/ubdfmbrunei or http://202.160.1.55:8000/listen.pls

  2. Add this page to the Home Screen

  3. Give the link a name

  4. Enjoy easy access to stream UBDFM on the homescreen

OS X: Solving “The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items” problem

I was trying to backup some of my files in OS X onto an external hard disk and ran into the following error dialog box: “The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items”

So I thought it was a permission issue of a file/folder that I did not have permission to read. So I went to file information (File > Get Info) of the folder and under “Sharing & Permissions”, I made sure that I had read permissions and clicked “Apple to enclosed items” (I believe this applies the permission rules to all sub files and folders recursively).

I tried copying the folder over again and the error dialog persisted. Wasn’t too sure why it still happened so I tried cleaning out the dot files using the “dot_clean” command from Terminal and viola! Copying went on without a hitch.

So when you encounter the “The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items” again

  1. check file/folder permissions (use get Info from Finder)
  2. use dot_clean (from Terminal)

Unlocker / lsof / ps is your friend

So you go about your business using your computer and you want to safely remove or unmount a USB drive or SD card and you get the following message:

Windows: “Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device” The device ‘TheNameOfYourDrive’ cannot be stopped now. Try stopping the device again later
OS X: The disk “TheNameOfYourDrive” is in use and could not be ejected”. Try quitting applications and try again.
eye fi is in used dialog box when unmounting

Windows: the solution is relatively simple: download Unlocker. So when you get the error message just right click > Unlocker > Unlock All
OS X: As the OS X dialog box suggests, you should try quitting applications but you don’t want to just willy-nilly close all applications, just the one causing the problem. To identify the application, open Terminal and type the following:

lsof | grep TheNameOfYourDrive

lsof output

It should display the current usages of the drive. The first name on the left is the application that is using the drive. Close that application and try unmount the drive again and it should work.

I used a similar tip to identify why I couldn’t replace my GIMP installation: I tried copying the application into the Applications directory and just got an error message saying that “The operation cannot be completed because the time libexpat-1.5.2.dylib is in use”. Fired up terminal and instead of “lsof” I used “ps -e” and saw that there processes using it. I killed those processes with “kill -9 processID” (process ID is the leftmost/first column in the “ps -e” output) and was able to copy it without a problem
gimp libexpat 1 5 2 dylib in use ps -e

Installing/Using Boot Camp on unsupported versions of OS X

So I installed Boot Camp when it was still in the beta versions on an OS 10.4 MacBook about 2 years ago but never install a Windows partition. Recently I tried to install Windows, so I started Boot Camp Assistant only to be greeted with a message that it had expired. As with most Apple stuff, there isn’t much support if you don’t upgrade (and in the process pay Apple more money). After some searching I found this forum post which basically states to change the date to 2005 (System Preferences > Date & Time) and ensure “Set date & time automatically” is unchecked.

I can verify that it works with OS X 10.4 on 20th August 2010 (Note: Boot Camp Assistant was previously installed so I just needed to run it, not install it. I can’t seem to find any download links to old Boot Camp versions either)

iPhone Development – Day 1

So today I thought I’d try to build an iOS application. Managed to cobble something together over lunch with a lot of copy-paste work going on and no reading of the documentation. Not exactly an ideal way to develop but hey I managed to get a functional application that I wanted. Very rough around the edges but functional nonetheless. I wanted to try it out on actual hardware and realized that I had to sign up for the iPhone Developer Program in order to do so. It costs US$99 a year (~BND$140) but thought I would try give it a go especially since I want to develop an application. So I…

  1. Go through the process of logging in
  2. Entered my personal/billing information
  3. Selected the appropriate program
  4. Reviewed my personal/billing information
  5. Did not read the 37 page license agreement (PDF link), but checking the box anyway

And I get greeted with this:

Apple Online Store is unavailable
Your country either does not have an Apple Online Store or does not offer Apple Developer Products for Online purchase. To complete the purchase of your program, you will need to complete and fax the Purchase Form below

Apple Online Store is Unavailable

Grrrrr. Imagine if I did read that 37 page long license agreement only to be greeted with that. I would have been even more infuriated. Couldn’t they have told me that when I entered my country in my personal details? Or if it depends on current location, they could have done that via my IP. Either way they could have just told me upfront that this is not available for me.

As I won’t be able to get the full experience of the app store approval process I did manage to read this iPhone development story which is a good read and does document some annoyances for developers. While I did not manage to get to the point of transferring any Android application to a physical device I am sure it will not be as difficult as this and I believe it is free as well. But kudos to iOS developers and especially Stack Overflow for having resources that I could just copy and paste and get a functioning application all in a matter of hours without reading the documentation. What happened to policy of developers not being able to tell each other how to program for iOS?

iPad’s Weird Rendering Issue of Images with Text in Safari

So my sister got an iPad and one of the first things I did was to load up my Unofficial Lite Edition of The Brunei Times E-Paper to see how it looked and I was surprised at how bad it rendered the text in the images. It looks fine on my computer and even on a Nokia E71. I wonder why it looked bad on Safari on the iPad. Now if I saved the image and viewed the saved photo in Photos, it turned out fine. Anybody care to explain this to me?

Note: this seems to happen with images that are bigger than the native resolution of the display (or that have to be scaled down in Safari. If I open an smaller image that does not require scaling, the text is fine and clearly visible

Below: Nokia E71 (in Web Browser) and iPad (in Safari) showing the same page (iPad image seems slightly out of focus but close up of the iPad image can be seen in the 2nd photo)

Below: Close up of the page in Safari

Below: As mentioned, if I save the image and open it in Photos it seems fine.

iPhone 4 and Apple ups the ante yet again

Notable Highlights:

  • IPS 960×640 display
  • 720p 30fps HD recording
  • Camera Flash
  • Video editing via iMovie
  • Front-facing VGA camera
  • 2 microphones (1 used for noise cancellation)
  • Apple A4 processor
  • 3-axis gyroscope
  • Farmville and Guitar Hero
  • Better battery life
  • FaceTime for video chat
  • Micro SIM
  • Thinner (with a slightly smaller form factor than iPhone 3GS)
  • iPhone 4 on sale June 24th
  • iPhone 4 US$199 (16GB) / US$299 (32GB). 3GS now starts at US$99 (16GB)
  • iPhone OS 4 (now renamed to iOS 4) is available for FREE on June 21st.

Check out the Apple page and full specs

Check out WWDC live blog coverage by: gdgt | Engadget

Yet again Apple has blown the competition away in several areas with the revelation of the new iPhone 4. Looks (almost?) exactly like the leaked phone and while lots of things were expected there are a few more treats that Apple has thrown in. Firstly the display. Just like the iPad is uses an IPS display which is more power hungry but produces better viewing angles and better colour representation and also like the iPad is uses a resolution that is completely different from the competition. It uses a 960 x 640 display while the maximum resolution I’ve seen on an Android phone is 854×480. I think the reason behind this resolution is that older applications can be scaled exactly 2 times on the screen (old resolution was 480×320) which is easier on the processing and thus better on battery life. Also, this resolution provides the same number of pixels you would find in a typical netbook with 1024×600 screen resolution. This is a great improvement but the only concern is if application developers try to squeeze too much on the screen and make text too small to read.

The camera has HD recording AND editing. Bringing iMovie to the platform is what makes it more of a killer product for those doing in the field recording. You no longer need a laptop to edit videos out in the field. This will aid bloggers at conferences and events a whole lot. The camera finally has a flash and I believe Apple camera will continue to be one of the better ones on the market. Even today the 3GS camera holds it own with the image quality and video capabilities. Tap to focus for video introduced in iOS 4 is another added bonus for video bloggers: no longer do you need a dedicated camcorder. For the ultimate road warrior who always need to be mobile, yet functional this is almost a no brainer. Better to have an iPhone 4 rather than a camcorder and a netbook for video editing. iMovie can export HD video so I would assume that it can edit HD video too. So while you can get a cheap HD camera like the Kodak Zi8 or a Flip Mino HD, the iPhone trumps them in the added functionality and almost matches them on price.

Apple’s A4 processor is found inside and is of no surprised and is one of the contributing factors to the better battery life while still offering great performance. Simple things like an extra microphone for noise canceling is an added bonus just like the 3-axis gyroscope which will be big for games. On the topic of games: 2 huge games Farmville and Guitar Hero are coming and for the general consumer Netflix is coming to the iPhone too. There was also mention of iAd for developers which means of more free applications for consumers with hopefully less obtrusive ads. Better battery life is really icing on the top as many Android phones suffer in that aspect, its a bit of adding salt the the wound of bad battery life that Android has.

Use of micro SIM is a disappointment but expected. While you can hack together one by cutting an existing SIM card there are safer alternatives like Cut My SIM (main site seems down so here’s an article from Gizmodo about it). FaceTime is currently supported on iPhone 4 only as it is a new standard and Steve mentioned that they are going to make it an open standard but only the future will tell what happens. Currently it is not available over 3G/cell network but I’m not sure if this restriction is just to US (probably they are waiting for AT&T to upgrade their infrastructure to handle the extra load) or is something embedded into the application itself.

All in all this is a worthy upgrade to the iPhone line and now Android phone makers need to be pretty worried with the lead Apple has once again in terms of hardware and capability of their new device. Android still has multi-tasking and openness going for it, but is it enough? Multi-tasking on iOS 4 may be multi-tasking done right: it may have it’s limitations but if it gives the general consumer the multi-tasking they need, Android’s multi-tasking feature may just be moot. iPhone 4: Quality hardware on an existing proven platform with good application and developer support

Application of the Day: Right Zoom

So I downloaded the new Firefox beta and for some reason I couldn’t find the Downloads window when I used the shortcut or selected it from the Window menu item. It took me a while and then I saw it. Look carefully at the image below and you will see the ‘hidden’ download window

wheres the firefoxs download window

See it yet? No? Well the answer is below:

theres the firefox hidden download window

Now how the heck do I resize something when I can’t even see the buttons nor the bottom right window resizer? I tried clicking/resizing on the window but to no avail. No shortcut is available for OS X to resize or maximize the window (one of my issues with OS X). Thankfully I found Right Zoom that enables me to maximize a window using a keyboard shortcut. Selected the window using Command + ` after Command + Tabbing onto the Firefox icon, pressed Command + Shift + E to maximize and there I found my download window back again! Phew..

Right Zoom was created to change the default behavior of the Zoom button in OS X to make it behave like Window’s and Linux’s Maximize button. It also lets uses assign a customizable keyboard shortcut to maximize the window. As I won’t have my Alt+Space, X as I have in Windows, this is the next best thing. Right Zoom runs in the background and is probably something you want to start automatically when you login (System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items).

The things I like and love about OS X

In all fairness after all my issues with OS X there are still things I like and even love about OS X.

Functional/Usable OS
When I talk about functional I’m comparing it more to Linux. The Windows operating system is pretty much mature to the extent of OS X but in all honesty Linux still has a fair way to go for the desktop market share. I say this as a Linux user for over 3 years now. Any long time (or even regular) Linux user can possibly tell you of issues they have with Linux. Multiple desktops or even getting video out on a projector can still be an issue for Linux users. This can be seen in the opening of the “Linux Sucks” by Bryan Lunduke from the Linux Action Show (now renamed to the Computer Action Show to cover a wider range of topics). MP3, DVD and other codec support has some licensing and legal issues. Installing applications can be an issue too. I have to say I love the way that OS X application installation is done, and I believe BSD is similar to this. For OS X, typically you have an installer (similar to application installing on Windows) or you just drag and drop the application to the “Applications” folder: simple and easy. With Linux there are various ways to install applications depending on your distribution. For Debian based applications you can have .deb files that you double click and it installs similar to installers for Windows, however if there are unmet dependencies the installation will fail. You will have to hunt for the dependency, install that before you can install your application. Now this process is simplified with “apt-get” or variations based on it via the command line or a graphical user interface such as Adept. “apt-get” is great that it brings all software into one searchable index but having a single installer file that requires just a double click to install and ensures the application will work on any single Linux platform is still missing, making it hard to distribute applications on any sneakernet or person to person.

Compared to Linux I believe the “Macs just work” tagline is mostly true, but there is a caveat in that they work according to how Apple wants you to use it. There a issues that I’ve mentioned and just some features you don’t even get. In Snow Leopard‘s enhancements it states that only now you can “Restore deleted items to original folders” and put “Date in menu bar”. Honestly that is pathetic considering Windows has had these features for years. Features that are missing may not be ground breaking but it can be annoying and somehow it feels that you are being forced to use your computer in a certain manner rather than having the freedom of actually using the OS.

More Hardware Compatibility
I compare this solely with Linux as Linux typically gets the least support from hardware manufacturers and I can understand that from a business level: there are not enough users to justify developing a Linux driver and with respect to the packaging problem with different distributions it makes it even more costly to get a general installer. Linux hardware support can be great and it can be bad; there are alot of (older) hardware that will work with current Linux distributions (e.g. Ubuntu) out of the box without the need for manual drivers installation. The same can be true for Windows but sometimes to a lesser degree. While Mac hardware support will never match Windows hardware support it is definitely nice to have manufacturer support for hardware available for the Mac that is not possible with Linux.

Anti-Viral
OS X and Linux really have a great one up over Windows as being more secure in terms of design making viruses practically non-existent. This is to regards to the typical user end viruses and malware (spyware, trojans) that users will get from opening unsafe attachments and visiting malicious websites or just inserting a USB drive in Windows. The lack of viruses is also due to the smaller market share of OS X and Linux compared to Windows. Sad to say that malware production is a business and the people behind them aim for the biggest and easiest targets: Windows users. Now take note that OS X will still not prevent things like phishing that requires user education. Educated Windows users would typically know the risks and take the necessary precautions when using a Windows system.

Great Software Applications
Apple’s iLife is great for the typical user. It makes things easy to do what you get out of them is nice looking: certainly much better looking that any typical Windows or Linux application. For the creative types or people being put in positions to make media content quickly, iMovie and iPhoto enable users to quickly make movies and slideshows without too much effort. GarageBand is great for musicians / podcasters trying to create their own content. iDVD makes burning DVD videos / slideshows simple and the end result looks spiffy. Linux suffers pretty severely in this aspect. Video editing is hard: there is no easy solution thus far that provides functionality similar to Windows Live Movie Maker or the older (some say better) Windows Movie Maker.

Other great software would be Expose, Spotlight, Quicksilver and Automator. Expose gives a nice looking overview of all windows open at the moment and is something the typical user would use all the time.

Expose in action on 3 Finder windows:
expose finder

OS X indexing is a great thing as it enables Spotlight and basically OS X’s search to find documents, applications, emails and more quickly and easily. Spotlight is my default application launcher that lets me open applications straight from the keyboard: Command + Space, type in a few letters of the program, Enter > program starts. Need to look for a document or folder? Just type it it and you will see it in spotlight

Spotlight in action:
spotlight in action

Quicksilver is Spotlight on steroids and has so many uses that make it a power user’s dream. It can do a ton of things and can be extended through the use of plugins and triggers can be combined with scripts to perform a greater multitude of tasks. (Learn more: Beginners Guide to Quicksilver | Top 10 Quicksilver Plug-ins | Quicksilver – A Better OS X in Just 10 Minutes)

Various functions of Quicksilver:
quicksilver in action email files move files resize images

Automator is another great tool for power users and provides greater functionality of the OS so easily through user created Automator actions and if you can’t find an Automator action that does the task you want, you can create it easily through a simple graphical user interface. Resize all photos in a directory and save them elsewhere? Check. Renaming a bunch of files in a directory? Check. Categorize downloaded files into folders and add downloaded music to iTunes library? Check. Just like Quicksilver the applications are practically limitless. (Learn more: Getting Started with the Mac OS X Automator)

automator resize images

Multi-touch
Supporting multi-touch and having a multi-touch enabled trackpad is wonderful: it brings simplicity and functionality together with intuitiveness. Multi-touch is in many notebook trackpads but one of the earliest real uses of it, similar to OS X’s, is in the Asus EEE 900 netbook. Multi-touch trackpads are one of those things that once you have, it’s hard to go back to life without it.

Conclusion
OS X is a great platform. If viruses and malware don’t chase you away from Windows, the “things just work” (and work nicely) scenario just may bring you over to OS X. That being said, OS X technically requires a Mac computer which is something, myself included, dislike. This is where OSx86 Project, Hackint0sh.org and Hackintosh.com come in: they document hardware that is compatible with OS X and provide ways to install OS X on your regular PC without the need to buy Apple hardware. This is a legal gray/black area and may not get you a fully working version of OS X (I’ve heard EFiX provides a fully working OS X installation, including software updates, not sure about any other routes). All this hacking to get OX to run on a regular PC just shows how much people want to use OS X but just not on the limited/expensive hardware Apple offers. I guess it shows how much some people just love the OS.

Windows: provides the most compatibility with applications and hardware with the expense of having to know how to use the system carefully due to malware. (on a personal note, Windows is the most productive OS)
Linux: offers a sense of freedom that cannot be matched: free (as in beer and speech) applications that provide a completely non-restrictive environment with great stability but lacking in hardware manufacturer support and software areas (e.g. video editing). The most open platform.
OS X: great stable “that just works” operating system with restrictiveness in terms of hardware and software. The most closed platform

Nothing’s perfect and people use the computer for different reason and applications. The best is to use each operating system and see what works best for you. For Linux it’s easy: you can get live CDs, you can install them as virtual machines. Windows can be installed as a virtual machine and is generally available, however buying a retail version can cost you quite a bit (~B$300) and it may be better to just buy a cheap netbook that would be bundled with Windows XP (and soon to be Windows 7). To my knowledge OS X cannot be installed in a virtual machine and since it only runs on a Mac (legally) there is no choice but to borrow or buy a Mac to try OS X and thus is the hardest to test. So at the end of the day you’ll just have to pick you poison.

[category Apple, Technology]