Archive for the ‘Blah blah’ Category

The smell of Steam… Not too good, uh?

October 8, 2007

2007_07_gcexpl3.jpg

I’ve been using Steam for about a year now with Counter Strike Source CDs. About a month ago I ordered the download of Company of Heroes. I was so excited about the download speed, which was exceeding 1MB/s on my 15MBit connection.

It seems I was very lucky when I had that 1.2MB/s of download speed, because now I’m rarely getting anything more than 200KB/s while preloading Portal and Team Fortress 2. Most of the time speed does not go over 80KB/s. So I decided to look up online what others are saying about Steam.

The first Google result for ‘steam download speed’ gave me the page full of negative comments about Steam and Valve. Valve has always been an example company to me, but this illusion has suddenly disappeared after reading so many negative feedbacks about Steam. It seems they are saving money by not deploying enough servers.

In general I like the idea of Stem, online game store, but it does need a major speed boost. I think that as soon as Valve improves Steam it can become a primary source for your gaming needs as more and more publishers sell their games there.

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iPhone software update: is it worth?

September 27, 2007

It was pretty obvious that the new update from Apple would lock the iPhone back with AT&T. To some extent the days and nights hackers spent figuring out how to unlock the iPhone can now be considered totally wasted. I don’t want to make any predictions, but it seems that Apple had a plan B where they applied a totally different locking technique and now it is going take another 2 months to figure out how to unlock the iPhone.

But my concern is not about unlocking the iPhone. I’m paying Apple what it “deserves” and am staying with AT&T (everybody should already know that Apple is receiving a portion of the monthly payments from AT&T iPhone users). My concern is about third-party applications that I won’t be able to use when I install the 1.1.1 update. This is a big hit for iPhone developers (or hackers ;)), who have already came up with a good amount of useful iPhone apps, and is even a bigger hit to users who are now unable to use those nifty little tools. Well, update is absolutely voluntary and nobody including Apple will force you to update your phone. So for myself I decided to stay the old way and keep my apps instead of getting iTunes Wi-Fi store, louder speaker and TV out. Yeah, I would not mind those features for my iPhone, but still they don’t seem good enough comparing to what third-party applications can offer instead.

Do you follow me guys? Can you see a future of iPhone in the hands of hackers and not in the hands of Apple? Hackers who try to bring best stuff for us and not try to earn more money like Apple does. But Apple’s attitude to the consumer is a different story, which needs another post or two.

Update: Engadget has a nice article comparing what you’ll get with an update, and what you’ll lose. It sort of supports my opinion about the new update and third-party applications.

Almost a month with the iPhone

July 22, 2007

Yes, I got it the first day it was released. Got it almost without waiting in the line in Everett Mall in the AT&T store. As many others in Seattle, I was first forced to buy three accessories with it, but the next time I returned to the store 2 hours later they said it was not necessary anymore. Unlike many others, activation did not take long for me. It was not the promised 2-3 minutes, but 20. Well, it’s still better than waiting for two days to get your device activated.

The first surprise was that it did not work with the 64-bit version of Windows, which I am currently using. Good I had a laptop which was running Windows XP Media Center Edition. Laptop is where I still use my iPhone to upload movies, music and podcasts. I still have not used it to sync calendar and contacts.

Couple of things to say after using the iPhone for almost a month:

  • The device is more practical than I thought. Before purchasing the iPhone I was worried about the screen – it might break, get scratches… Well, no any scratches after a month. Obviously I’m carrying the device not in a pocket, as I used to before with my previous cell phone, but in a $30 case (that looks like this) and I find it to be rather convenient, even more convenient than carrying the device in a pocket. Though the iPhone does not have too many hardware buttons, it is quite practical to use it. Screen is very sensitive – almost as sensitive as your skin. It can recognize even the light touch with the tip of your finger. Obviously it is more sensitive than on any other PDA or smartphone that I ever had a chance to use.
  • Browser is amazing. It is much better than Pocket Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile or Blazer on PalmOS. While on EDGE pages open at an average or below average speed, but still the navigation is very convenient and user-friendly. Better surfing speeds can be achieved while using WiFi connection. The only problem with the Safari on the iPhone is the absence of Flash support, but many tend to think that it will be fixed when the official SDK is released.
  • Battery life is short. The longest the iPhone could live without charging was two days for me and that’s with less than 1 hour talk time. It seems that the most power is consumed when using the WiFi connection and browsing the Internet. It seems that turning off WiFi when not needed saves the battery life. A good thing is that watching movies does not consume too much power. Some tests have showed that after watching a 1:20 hour movie only about 1/4 of battery power was gone.
  • It is hard to control music when iPhone is in the case. iPod is definitely a better choice for those who listen much music. The remote button that is on the headset wire can only play/pause and skip the track. Taking an iPhone out from the case and switching an album is kind of painful.
  • Camera is nice. It’s not the quality of Nokia’s N95 5-megapixel camera, but still better than any 1-2 megapixel phone cameras that I have seen before.

As many others I’m waiting for the software update and for the official SDK to be released, so we can have some games and more applications on-board.

Verizon FiOS already available in my area!

May 16, 2007

Last time I checked the availability of the new service from Verizon in my area it indicated that FiOS was available in my area. Probably soon I will order the 15mbit down / 5mbit up service for decent $55 per month. Incredible price, I would say, for such an incredible service :).

First days in Santa Barbara

March 21, 2007

It has been the first day in Santa Barbara. The weather is quite fine, not too hot, not too cold. I was able to take a couple of interesting pictures. Check them out at http://flickr.com/photos/freeborn/sets/72157600015236044/

Trip to California

March 19, 2007

I’m really excited now, cause I’m leaving for California tomorrow morning with my friends for a two-week trip. We’re going to stay in our friends’ house close to Santa Barbara. I’m taking my Canon 20D camera with me and actually my entire photography kit so expect some new pics on my Flickr page (http://flickr.com/photos/freeborn/). Probably gonna visit LA, Hollywood and some other exotic places ;).

I’m looking forward to an interesting and exciting trip.

What else would you need?

Getting ready for the trip

Technology: Programming instructors at college do not allow projects to be turned in on floppy disks…

October 12, 2006

…intead they require to bring them on a CD or a thumb drive (USB flash drive). Finally we got to the point that floppy disks are gone from our daily usage. Instead they are replaced with more advanced technology like pen drives. I remember me reading in the tech magazines the review of one of the very first thumb drives which had a total of 32MB of available space :). That was a huge step back in 2001. Not that many people bought it back in those days, because of their not so low price. But in few years things got way better and now we even do not notice this technology advance. They got deeply into our daily life and we can find pen drives with MP3 players, faster transfer speeds, smaller sizes and greater capacities.

“Get a Mac” ads: the PC guy actually uses Macs since 1984!

October 5, 2006

John Hodgman

I absolutely loved those “Get a Mac” ads by apple. They were funny and were interesting to watch unlike many other commercials we see on TV. Lately Engadget managed to find the guy who played PC in the commercial and interviewed him. John Hodgman, the PC hero, is an editor at the New York Times and a contributor to the Daily Show. Engadget asks if he and Steve Jobs are fellows now, which John denies and says he’s never met Steve Jobs, but wishes he had.

The most interesting part of the interview is actually the first question Engadget asks John:

So first things first: Mac or PC?”

“Here is the joke that is absolutely apt, though I once promised I would never make it: “I play one on TV, but I am not a PC.” It is true. I am first of all: not a computer, but a human being; and second of all: a Mac user, almost exclusively, since 1984. There was a brief period in the wilderness between 1997 and 2003. Let us not speak of it.”

Since 1984? That’s a long time! That’s a huge experience with Macs back in those days where only the richest could afford one. Well, that was kind of a surprise to me that he uses Macs and jus hates PCs. Actually I think it helped him simulate all those PC’s troubles 🙂

Intro to this blog

October 4, 2006

Hey! Here’s a quick intro to my blog. I’m an 18 year old guy, who’s rather interested in tech, programming and Linux. Why blog? Ah, just wanted to let the world know what I’m doing, what’s interesting (software, hardware) to me and what projects I’m currently working on.