Archive for July, 2007

iPhone demo

We’ve probably all seen the various demo videos of the iPhone around the Internet.  Some people are saying some very negative things about it, from trouble typing, to sound quality issues with the phone, and with people asking what the fuss is all about.  (Their point is that Smart phones have been able to surf the web, play music, do email, etc. for a long time.)

I dropped by our local Apple store today to take a good look at the iPhone, even though I have no intention of buying one yet.

Typing on an iPhone isn’t bad.  When trying to use both thumbs, I ran into some trouble with my left thumb inadvertently hitting the wrong keys occasionally, but when using a single finger I had significantly fewer issues.   I’ve never used a Blackberry or any other device with a tiny physical keyboard, so I can’t really compare the two.  So, while it wasn’t instantly intuitive, I do think that I could get used to it, and probably get my error rate down with some practice.

Web browsing on it was very good once I got used to it.  You have to have very careful placement of your finger on the screen to get specific links, or you need to zoom in.  I would say that this is the best surfing I have seen on a phone by far.  My Motorola L2 phone stinks, by comparison.

I made a quick phone call on it and the sound quality was at least as good as my L2.

All in all, I played around with the iPhone for probably 20 minutes or more, moving through the various applications.  I actually don’t know how much time I spent there, but it was enough that when we told our three year old it was time to go, he got up from the iMac he was playing on and happily left with us.  That was a first!

Even if you aren’t in the market for an iPhone, I highly suggest going to your local Apple store and trying a demo unit out for a few minutes.  Heck, if I was an executive for Nokia or Motorola, I’d buy up some units so my designers could see an example of the RIGHT way to design a smartphone!

If the iPhone were $249, I would be seriously contemplating grabbing one up.  I’m already an AT&T customer, so I don’t have any issues there.  But, I can’t see the iPhone being useful enough on a day-to-day basis to spend $499 on one.

Oh – One thing I haven’t seen mentioned in any other review of the iPhone.  For the built-in wireless, it currently only seems to support WEP, WPA, and WPA2 – the pre-shared key varieties.  Me?  I’m a WPA Enterprise man myself, so it wouldn’t work on my network.  (But, I am a freak in regards to wireless security.)  I do imagine that having 802.1X capabilities would help in getting a higher adoption rate among business.  If you’re reading this Apple, please add this feature!

July 4, 2007 at 8:22 pm Leave a comment

Keyboard Cleaning 101

I use a 20″ Intel iMac as my primary machine. When I originally got it, one of the things that I loved about it was the beautiful keyboard. Perhaps the minimalist in me was coming out. The keys are tightly clustered together with very little empty space between them or even around them. The edge of the keyboard is wrapped in clear plastic, making it look almost as if the keys are floating. Since the iMac itself is white, it isn’t surprising that the keys of the keyboard are the same bright white. Overall, it’s a very nice looking keyboard.

After a year of use, though, I’m not sure I like it quite as much. The dirt build-up is very evident with the white key color. The clear plastic edge that I initially liked so much? It now provides a nice view at a years worth of dust and other miscellaneous unidentifiable particles.

Recently, I read an article about putting your keyboard in your dishwasher to clean it. If this were a $9 CompUSA special, I might have tried that, but since a Mac keyboard has Mac-specific keys, it would cost me $29 to get a new one if this experiment resulted in a dead keyboard. That, and they recommended letting your keyboard dry for a couple days before using it again. That’s just not going to happen.

I remembered coming across a guide on specifically how to go about cleaning a Mac keyboard. Today, I googled a bit and found this link:
HOW-TO: Cleaning the Apple Keyboard

Removing the keys was a piece of cake.  I popped mine into a gallon sized ziplock bag with a couple squirts of dishwashing detergent and shook the bag for a while, then dumped the bag into a colander and rinsed it thoroughly at the sink.

Take them seriously on their suggestion to snap a few digital pics of your keyboard before you start.  It really comes in handy when you put the keys back.  I find it very odd that I’ve been typing proficiently for about 20 years, and yet when faced with a keyboard that has had all the keys removed, I can’t remember but about 1/2 of their positions.  If you want to challenge yourself, don’t take pictures, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Anyhow, I now have a keyboard that looks practically as good as when I unpacked it.  It took me about an hour to do the whole thing.

July 4, 2007 at 7:57 pm Leave a comment


With regret, today I removed a few posts from this blog.

Recently, a few associates were charged with examining the machine of an ex-employee.  Upon the search, they turned up the username that this employee used on his personal blog.  They were extremely surprised to find pictures from the company datacenter posted there, for all to see, along with at least one whiteboard photo that contained the name of the domain, along with several IP Addresses, some public and some private.    The majority of us couldn’t believe that he had posted this information online for the world to see, even though it was unlikely that it could be used for any nefarious purpose.

This made me think about my own blog and what sort of information I might inadvertently be distributing.   To be on the safe side, I reviewed the blog and removed all articles that I thought were too directly related to work projects.  I’m almost 100% sure that no one at my job would have objected to the stuff I had here (describing various applications that I’ve written), but you never know.

July 4, 2007 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment


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