Thursday, 21 February 2008

HD-DVD is dead, yeah so...

So the news is out, Toshiba finally dropped out of the HD video disc format race... Of course the downfall which started at CES 2008, was exactly 2 days after I received my HD-DVD player for the X-Box360! [ed: just to add to my crappy year 2007...]
This is actually quite upsetting as IMHO the HD-DVD format was way more interesting than the Blu-Ray solution. Here are my 3 top rants regarding this subject:
  • For one thing, HD-DVD were not region encoded which is a big plus (while Blu-Ray is)! I am so tired of not being able to buy the version (especially considering language) of the movies I want to add to my library!
  • No competitors means that the technology rights will remain high & costly (Sony has to make back the money they spent buying the studios to jump onboard Blu-Ray somehow) which converts into a user expensive experience...
  • Blu-Ray will only be really good once 2.0 and greater players start to come-out for the online updates and content additions!
Will I buy a Blu-Ray player, maybe once the prices come down and 2.0 players are more readily available... By that time, I may not need to! I am also tending to see (especially in France where high-speed broadband is readily available) that more and more HD content will more likely come from direct downloads or IPTV solutions!
At the end of the day, I don't regret my purchase and I will try to collect as many good HD-DVDs I can before they disappear...

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


The French distributor of HTC, Brightstore, was present at MS TechDays 2008. One of the devices presented was the UMPC. I won't discuss the UI as this is pretty standard as they are all based on Vista.HTC Display Cabinet
The hardware however is one of the best I have seen in this category. The overall frame is slightly bigger than the screen and has a nice rubbed plastic grip feel (easy to hold & feels right). The 7" screen is a good size, full tactil and good on the eyes. Keyboard is a slide under like the TyTN2 and it provides a full keyboard the length & width of the device. Best part however is the good tactile respons it provides.
This is definitely the best UMPC out there (I have tested the Samsung & Toshiba) so far!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

gMail IMAP Weirdness

gMail WeirdnessThe other day after logging onto one of my gMail accounts via the IMAPS protocol, I noticed something strange in the folder hierarchy. A bin directory has appeared in the [Google Mail] folder hierarchy. Why is this significant? Well it highlights the fact that the IMAP solution they are using is in most likelihood a unix based platform. And it potentially also highlights a configuration error.

If it is a configuration error, the worry will be that a potential hole exists in the security and the system could eventually be hacked...

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Apple! Oh How Ye Doth Disappoint...

The title says it all... I am currently in Houston, TX and as previously posted was thinking about buying a new MacBook even possibly the Air. The reason behind this is that one of my home laptops is dying its slow death!

Now, I visited the Apple store yesterday and decided to give the Air a rundown and I also took the opportunity to play some more with the iPod Touch and iPhone. Now I left the story disappointed and still hesitant (even more so when you see rumor articles like this) which is kind of a shame considering Apple's innovative approach and track history. Here is my problem, within a small 30minute period, I managed to find quirks and interface issues in all the new products.

First on the Air: I tried to use the multi-touch trackpad (which is only activated when you hold a key down) and found that in fact the applications don't respond very well. I couldn't even get it to work in iPhoto. When I did manage to get it to work, the zoom pinch function to reduce (after I had enlarged) was impossible to get working! I just could not reshrink the image. Could it be my fingers, maybe but...

Second on the Air: I heard some of the reports concerning the slow speeds but was thinking maybe it was just the reviewers. In the store, the Air was side by side with a pretty standard Macbook. I rebooted both at the same time... and the Macbook was up and running at the same-time if not faster than the Air! Ouch I was also very surprised that after only a few days of exposure, the unit was already showing signs of scratching and wear on the alu frame...

Third concerning the Touch & iPhone, I won't go back on some of previous comments regarding the missing features in some applications (like video, mms support, etc). To start, the display units are used by many people so they get quite dirty, believe it or not this makes it quite hard to get the multi-touch interface to respond properly. Your probably thinking, yeah so, a single person wouldn't dirt it up that much! But are you sure... my feeling on display units is that the passage of many people gives you a good impression of how resistant the device will be to prolonged usage and wear and tear.

Then I was playing with basic features like the music player and video player. During that time I also switched out to Home interface (tried to be a normal user). Then I ran into a problem, the audio got really loud (I think the following song was boosted)... It is there that I struggled, I couldn't for the world of me get a quick access to the audio controls and even in the player interface I struggled!

Believe it or not I left the store really stunned, in shock! Not the feeling I would have expected from visiting the Apple store hence my disappointment. I am still considering getting the iPod Touch though...