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Apple’s official letter regarding the antenna issue.

Posted By on July 2, 2010

A simple mistake, or an attempt at deception that backfired? My initial reaction is to dismiss it as corporate BS, but it does fall in line with my observations that I wrote several days ago (which I didn’t write here in this blog unfortunately). To reiterate, at my apartment (which completely obliterates all providers, especially Sprint), the “issue” manifests itself greatly. For reference, my iPhone 3G would average 1-2 bars with AT&T. Taking a call and holding the phone to my ear (either ear) would result in a drop >50% of the time. Using a headset would drop it down to maybe 10%. My roommate’s Sprint service would drop nearly 100% of the time on a call within the first minute, holding the phone or otherwise. Sprint representatives told him he’s less than a block from the nearest cell tower. Lead in our walls maybe?

My iPhone 4 now reports 4-5 bars at my apt with AT&T. I suppose I should have been more suspicious. Could Apple really have improved the antenna that much? In comparison, at work, a good coverage area, I have yet to be able to get the bars to disappear. Sometimes, they don’t even drop at all, even with the phone crammed in my left palm.

Anyway, Apple’s comments also seems to fall in line with Anandtech’s comprehensive review (dB measurements and all), which notes that the 5th bar represents a disproportionately wide range of signal. So basically, it’s showing that you have 5 bars, when you don’t. Either Apple just made an innocent mistake, or they were trying to be sneaky and fake a much larger improvement in antenna design than there actually was. For the Apple haters, the latter should do nicely.

In any case, it’s not exactly long term yet, but to follow up on my other post, I’ve had the phone for over a week now, and I’m quite happy with it. With the Speed Test app I’ve been able to pull 2 megabit, and push 1.2 megabit (all dependent on ATT’s coverage of course, but the new iPhone supposedly has an improved chip for faster uploads). Battery life has been much, much better than expected. I used to keep my 3G on 66% brightness, and with normal use, the phone would last about 1.5 days. But I don’t even bother with the 4 – 100% brightness all the way. And it still lasts longer than the 3G did. I haven’t run it dry yet, but based on the battery indicator, it looks like the 4 should last at least 50% longer than my 3G. The Anandtech review shows some impressive benchmarks for more info on that.

iPhone 4 antenna issue

Posted By on June 24, 2010

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/06/24/other-mobile-phones-with-similar-signal-loss-issues/

It happens on other phones but it definitely is accentuated on the new iPhone if you bridge the two antennas on the left. Merely contacting the two antennas at the same time isn’t enough – I tried putting my fingers on the two antennas as close as possible without covering the gap, and the connectivity sustained. You have to cover the gap. I suspect it will only strongly affect left handed folks who choose not to get a case.

Still, a pretty big design flaw. I get the feeling someone overrode the engineers and made an artistic design decision, because it seems like a fairly trivial issue to overcome. Cover the gap in plastic or glass? It would have messed with the clean design, but eh, people eat up some ugly android phone designs, so I doubt people would have given too much of a damn about an extra panel of glass or plastic.

I predict next year’s phone will have some kind of cover over the gaps.

I told myself if the antenna issue was major, I’d just return the thing, but given that I’m right handed, I suspect it won’t affect me too much. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.

On another note, I’m pretty happy with the phone. My coworker showed me Family Guy Blue Harvest on his, and it looked amazing. Video call, while gimmicky, was still quite cool.

More Google Maps Fail, More Bing Win

Posted By on March 21, 2010

So I’ve written how Google switched to their own navigation data. I’m not sure if it’s related to this, but lately I’ve noticed Google maps likes to jump to conclusions, and for me, they’ve been wrong. It’s not uncommon that I don’t have a complete address. The beauty with Google, at least I thought, was that it didn’t really matter. I could just throw in a partial, but reasonable, address, and Google would do its magical search, and give a list of results. I thought it used to do that anyway; I swear Google maps used to give a list of suggestions.

For example, last week I went to the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA. I knew it was in the desert somewhere, and didn’t have the full address, so I put in Indian Wells, CA. Google then assumed I meant the significantly further, unincorporated community between Sequoia National Forest and Edwards Air Force Base, and gave me directions based on that, rather than the much, much closer Indian Wells by Palm Springs. Thankfully we only drove the wrong way for about 5-10 miles before we realized what was happening.

Here is what you get if you search for Indian Wells, CA with Google maps on the iPhone or at google.com: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Indian+Wells,+CA&sll=33.688907,-117.832607&sspn=0.008659,0.013754&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Indian+Wells,+Kern,+California&ll=35.771029,-117.957458&spn=1.080783,1.760559&z=9. Or just try the search yourself. Today is March 21, 2010, btw, just in case this behavior becomes obsolete one day.

This is what you get when you search at bing: http://www.bing.com/maps/#JnE9eXAuSW5kaWFuK1dlbGxzJTJjK0NBJTdlc3N0LjAlN2VwZy4xJmJiPTQ5Ljk3MjM3Mjc0NjEyOCU3ZS04OC4wNjM3NTEyMjElN2UxMy41Mjg0NDQ0MTkzNjAxJTdlLTE0Ny4xMjYyNTEyMjE=. Bing nicely points out that there are two possibilities.

So now I suddenly remembered how I was unable to find another address several weeks ago. My aunt invited me to a dumpling-making party in celebration of Chinese New Years. In an email, she gave me the address as “412 Broadway, Anaheim, CA 92805.” Much, much more complete than “Indian Wells, Ca.” We never found the place however. Fast forward to today. I found a paper invite, with an even more complete version of the address. “412 EAST Broadway, Anaheim, CA 92805.” Oh, damn. Again, if you dump “412 Broadway, Anaheim, CA 92805″ in Google, it will spit out one location. Bing will point out that there are two.

I’m starting to wish Apple would decouple the iPhone from Google maps and allow the user to specify a different map app (is there a way that I don’t know of?). But the Google maps integration is so good. All your contacts show up as bookmarks in your google maps if you have addresses listed for them, and you can access their phone number straight from the maps app, too. Handy if you’re about to arrive and need to call.

The Hurt Locker

Posted By on March 7, 2010

A critic described The Hurt Locker as almost perfect. Hmm, I guess so. I suppose it helps that it apparently is based on a true story. I can’t really think of anything that irked me, except maybe when the snipers didn’t reposition after their positions were known, and the enemy decided to stop firing for some reason.

A good time waster. I could probably re-watch it in about a year.

Misfits – What Heroes Should Have Been

Posted By on January 27, 2010

Actually, that’s not possible, because British television is so much more liberal than US network television (as in, allowing swearing and nudity). So it’s more like, what Heroes should have been if it were on cable. Anyway, if you are like me, you thought Heroes sucked ass, and progressively sucked more ass as time went on. And if you were like me, you had never heard of Misfits. But now you have, and I recommend you find it somehow. Don’t look up the wiki because wiki gives away everything.

If you want to be legit, someone told me ep 1 is on netflix. However, I think you really need to watch the first two to get a complete feel for the show (ep 2 is pretty awesome, btw). At least for me, I don’t really like shows where a moron can be a main character (but only one of them is a total tool, and at least he captures the true essence of a tool). Hence, I never liked Dennis the Menace when I was a kid. In fact, I’d always hope he’d get caught.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve been looking for a show to watch while Lost is off, but I just couldn’t find one that I really wanted to stick with. Mad Men got a bit irrelevant (I’ll expound in the future), Dexter started to seem like a huge time investment (and murder-of-the-weekish), and Deadwood started boring the hell out of me. My friend mentioned Misfits, and the short 6 ep commitment seemed very tempting. It’s about juvenile delinquents sentenced to community service who somehow acquire minor supernatural powers. It sounds weird, but the writing is actually very good. The lack of crazy super powers makes the story more manageable, and more about the characters themselves rather than some kind of world-shattering predicament. And the delinquents feel authentic. You get to see (delinquent) teens be teens. Over here in the States, with all the decency rules, American-equivalent characters just feel so…fake. The closest I can think of was the much more serious and f’d up movie Kids. Other than that, you just get the typical brooding, back-talking punk. It’s so ubiquitous that I don’t think we Americans notice until we watch something like Misfits. Then it’s, “Aha, he reminds me of so and so when I was in grade school.” I’m sure most of us knew that one guy who was the perverted jackass of the class.

Anyway, check it out if you can. The main issue I had was trying to understand British slang. So far I’ve gathered that slag means slut. Other than that, no idea. Thankfully, there’s this: http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/. Misfits is listed as a dramedy, but I don’t really think it’s too comedic. There’s definitely very funny moments, though, but mainly because of what the main jackass character says. I guess it could be a dramedy, in the sense that Boston Legal is also a dramedy. But it’s not like Friends or anything like that.

Random Artist/Design Industry Blurb

Posted By on January 26, 2010

This is random, but I thought it was interesting. Plus, I like artists and designers, and I need to get my mind off healthcare stuff.  So my coworker told me he designed the look of Ken Block’s new Ford, as seen here:

The skull logo seen at 0:42 is designed by his friend, Huck. Ken Block had seen a similar logo at Huck’s site, which can be seen here: http://huckgee.com/.

I guess he makes a pretty nice living as an artist/designer. They were just going to license the skull logo to Block, but QuickSilver wanted to buy the logo out completely (and they did, for a nice sum).

Huck also designs for kidrobot.com, which sells zany stuff, such as a Soviet walrus plush. The artists primarily have urban roots, according to my coworker.

I don’t know how this led to Nigo, and Bathing Ape, but it did. Nigo is some popular designer from Japan, and Bathing Ape is his brand of trendy clothing that people like Kanye West wear. All for ridiculous prices of course. Nigo has teamed up with two others to form the Billionaire Boy’s Club/Ice Cream, where you can buy $80 shirts, and $250 hoodies. Insane.

What was the point of this? I don’t know anymore, sorry. Well I stripped out all the business parts because I didn’t know how much of that I could talk about, but it looks like if you have talent, there’s some fun ways to make some money!

Badass Surgeon

Posted By on January 22, 2010

This guy is the shiznit.  After diagnosing himself with appendicitis, being the only surgeon on the expedition, he operates on himself.  Pictures included. It takes a real man to poke around your own innards, without gloves. Ha, that could be misinterpreted lol.

“I did not sleep at all last night. It hurts like the devil! A snowstorm whipping through my soul, wailing like a hundred jackals. Still no obvious symptoms that perforation is imminent, but an oppressive feeling of foreboding hangs over me . . . This is it . . . I have to think through the only possible way out: to operate on myself . . . It’s almost impossible . . . but I can’t just fold my arms and give up.

“18.30. I’ve never felt so awful in my entire life. The building is shaking like a small toy in the storm. The guys have found out. They keep coming by to calm me down. And I’m upset with myself—I’ve spoiled everyone’s holiday. Tomorrow is May Day. And now everyone’s running around, preparing the autoclave. We have to sterilise the bedding, because we’re going to operate.

“20.30. I’m getting worse. I’ve told the guys. Now they’ll start taking everything we don’t need out of the room.”

OKCupid analyzes their data by race

Posted By on January 21, 2010

And it just confirms what we already know: Asian and white women prefer white men, and middle eastern women are hot.  OKCupid has access to some very interesting data sets and I’m glad they’re actually doing something with it. Thanks to Eric for the heads up.

  • Black women write back the most. Whether it’s due to talkativeness, loneliness, or a sense of plain decency, black women are by far the most likely to respond to a first contact attempt. In many cases, their response rate is one and a half times the average, and, overall, black women reply about a quarter more often that other women.
  • White men get more responses. Whatever it is, white males just get more replies from almost every group. We were careful to preselect our data pool so that physical attractiveness (as measured by our site picture-rating utility) was roughly even across all the race/gender slices. For guys, we did likewise with height.
  • White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else—and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively. These three types of women only respond well to white men. More significantly, these groups’ reply rates to non-whites is terrible. Asian women write back non-white males at 21.9%, Hispanic women at 22.9%, and white women at 23.0%. It’s here where things get interesting, for white women in particular. If you look at the match-by-race table before this one, the “should-look-like” one, you see that white women have an above-average compatibility with almost every group. Yet they only reply well to guys who look like them. There’s more data on this towards the end of the post.

If you were a little thrown off by the Zodiac control like I was, they’re just showing that a person’s sign has no bearing on how compatible people are (based on their compatibility algorithm).  You can read more about how they calculate compatibility and the effects of religion here.

Yelp Manipulation

Posted By on January 20, 2010

I love Yelp, but I also love credibility and honesty. Apparently, Yelp’s been accused of massaging scores if businesses hand over some advertising dough. There was always that minor suspicion but this article details it fully: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/eastbay/yelp-extortion-allegations-stack-up/Content?oid=1176984

The story, which was picked up by national news outlets including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, detailed the accounts of local business owners who said that sales reps at the popular user-generated review site offered to move negative reviews of their businesses if they advertised.

Anyway, today, my friend told me about how one of his (very legitimate) reviews got removed:

A:
oh hey apparently yelp is like, fuckin 1984 shit
maybe that’s not the right analogy
they went all china censor on me
back in august 07 i went to this bed and breakfast in monterey bay, and it was dirty and filthy and had clogged plumbing and no toilet paper and BEBBUGS IN ALL THE BEDS
woke up in the middle of the night like omfg wtf and just left
so i wrote this harsh ass review of it on yelp, and posted pics of bedbugs

Ron Hsu
they deleted the review?

A
and a few weeks ago
i got an email
from “Frank @ yelp hq” saying they were removing my pics from that business because they “fall outside our local business photo guidelines”
a couple of days ago, i got a personal message on yelp from the owner of the business offering a free night’s stay at his business (which, since I went there, has apparently undergone new ownership and a total renovation) so that i might have a better experience and change my rating
i wrote him back saying thanks, if i ever go to monterey again maybe i’ll take you up on your offer
and for now i’ll add a line to the beginning of my old review saying “note: i haven’t been back, but apparently there is new ownership and the place has been renovated”
and today, i got a message from “Casper @ Yelp HQ” telling me that one of my reviews was deleted “because it lacks a first-hand experience of the business”
and i was like what the fuuuuuck how was my review not a first hand experience of hte business
it was ANYTHING but secondhand
smells like BS to me
i suspect you can pay off yelp or bitch to them or do something shady to delete bad reviews
which, of course, defeats the purpose of yelp in the first place

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-inn-at-del-monte-beach-monterey-2

check it
only 5 reviews
used to be 6
mine got killed
they have to be a yelp sponsor of some sort to be able to list that “grand opening! rates start at 79!” ad rectangle right?
the only review from the last two years is from someone with 2 reviews, who just started yelping in january 2010
fiiiiishy fiiiiishy
yeah yelp sold out or something, cus that is bullshiiiiiit
i sent a message to that hazel q chick, yelp oc community organizer or whatever, no response
dunno if she has any power or say in the first place
but yeah, bullllshiiiit
“your review was deleted because it lacks a first-hand experience of the business,” LOL

Ron Hsu
actually i had just read an article about something like your experience a few days ago

The only legitimate rationale I can think of is the new ownership angle, and thus, perhaps, my friend’s review no longer counts since he hasn’t been to the “new and improved” version.

SQL Server Management Studio 2005/2008 forgets password

Posted By on January 18, 2010

This is why people bag on Microsoft.

SQL Server Management Studio 2005 forgets password

As does the 2008 version. I ran into this issue and was (not) surprised to find that the bug dating back to version 2005 had still not been fixed.  Hey, at least you can delete some files to fix it though.

Edit: Just to make it more clear, from Voot’s post in the link above, you need to go to C:\Documents and Settings\[USERNAME]\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Shell

and delete SqlStudio.bin.

Make sure SSMS is not running when you delete it. Fire up SSMS again. All your credentials will be gone, so you’ll need to reenter them, but it should remember them from here on out. I have no idea what causes it to initially mess up.

On another note, it’s not often you see a woman write something like the following (what can I say, there’s not that many women in my field):

It doesn’t take too long to set up a tool to monitor a file or directory – you can download FileMon from:

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/FileAndDisk/Filemon.mspx

The Connect to Server dialog can pop up in different situations where there is no security context for the connection to use. If you use registered servers (and save the password there) when you view the registered servers, select a server in the Registered Servers task pane and then click New Query on the toolbar or Right Click, Connect, Object Explorer or New Query which will result in connecting under the security context you used when registering the server. If a server isn’t selected, there is no security context available so the Connect to Server dialog pops up. I haven’t heard of passwords  being “lost” or “forgotten” using the registered servers task pane and saving registration information there.

Good info.