Apr 13

This does not bode well for the 5 …

So …


My iPhone 1st gen lasted for 2 years, has a small crack but the touchscreen stopped working.

My iPhone 3GS lasted for 3 and a half years, has a lot of cracks in the glass but, amazingly, the touchscreen is working (in fact, everything is perfect except the glass)

I think the iPhone 5 is trembling (and so am I) :D

Oct 12

My experience with Apple maps … In Dubai

I find all this apple-hating we sometimes see on tech sites very annoying.

The purple fringe on iPhone 5 photos appears to me to be a non issue. Or at least something common to a lot of phones cameras. Not that purple but very similar.

However it really annoys me when people say Apple Maps are good.

C’mon, Apple Maps might be good ON YOUR CURRENT LOCATION!

I can guarantee that Apple Maps are not good where I’m currently are, which is is the lovely city of Dubai in the UAE.

And by not good I don’t mean worse than Google Maps … I mean not-giving-directions-to-very-common-and-know-Points-of-Interest-NOT-GOOD.

Here are some screenshots i’ve taken today (first is GoogleMaps web app, then AppleMaps) …

Lets just compare the “where I’m at” screen:
(first Google)
(then AppleMaps)

See? Apple maps are weak someplaces … Notice the missing roads on the top?

Ok, and what about directions? … You know, something that A LOT of people is saying that Apple has done right …

Let’s just try to go to a very common and known mall nearby:

1) So let’s ask directions from my location to Mall of emirates …

(notice google already suggesting it)
(Apple nows nothing … And I’ve also tried several iterations of its designation)

2) The result ?

(actually, the webapp version is awful for this. Release a iOS app already google!!!)

(NOPE! Apple doesn’t know it ..)

3) And show it a map … just for google, of course …


This is of course just an example and it means that the maps that support Apple Maps don’t include on some places some of the basic points-of-interest that people usually need …

Apple Maps app is a good, but the supporting maps still have a lot to evolve. Let’s not forget that Google has like 7 years on this and big teams correcting / adjusting mapping data.

In the end, I think that the fact that Apple and Google couldn’t come up to a agreement is bad for the user in the short term. In the long term, I think competition is good.

But one thing comes to mind … Why didn’t Apple considered going for a OpenStreetMaps option? In my opinion Apple, using OpenStreetMaps, was in the ideal position to be a open-source-good-standards-promoter in this cloud map services space …

Jun 12

Apple Portuguese prices are crazy?

Today was the start of the WWDC 2012.

I was watching the keynote with anxiety as i have, among other Macs, an old MacBook Pro (Core Duo 2.16Ghz, 2GB Ram) which i’ve been using since around mid 2006.

I’ve been upgrading this machine, of course, in order to maintain it usable. Right now it has an 120GB SSD and i’ve replaced the SuperDrive with the original 100GB HDD. I really need a faster processor and more RAM, sadly something i can’t really upgrade.

So, i was really hoping for the new MacBook Pro announcement – in order to consider it as a replacement for my portable machine.

The new Retina Display MacBook Pro is amazing, in fact. A big cheers to Apple for this.

What is not so amazing is the Apple pricing outside of the United States.

Follow me on this:

  • USA price of the 15″ MacBookPro 2.3Ghz Retina Display: 2199$
  • this in euros, in today rates, is around 1764€.
  • so, add the TAX in Portugal (called IVA), which is 23% (crazy, i know), and we get: 2170€

But, the price on the Portuguese Apple Store is … wait for it … 2349€ (around 2930$).

So, it’s about 180€ more of what it should be after taxes.


Jun 11

GarageBand for MacOS and the Behringer iAxe USB guitar

After my previous post (GarageBand for iPad and the Behringer iAxe USB guitar) and a comment about that post, i realized i haven’t made the same tutorial / explanation for GarageBand on the MacOS version.

So, here it is, a simple away to connect your iAxe to GarageBand.

What is needed:

A) GarageBand on the MacOS

B) Behringer iAXE USB + the supplied USB Cable

C) Headphones (any type) to connect to the iAxe, or your computer (more on this later)

And the setup is pretty simple, just follow the steps:

(Note: in this screenshots, i’m using GarageBand’09 and MacOS X 10.6.7 – Snow Leopard)

1. Open the “Audio MIDI Setup” app on your utilities folder

You should have the application screen similar (or aprox.) to mine:

2. Connect the iAXE USB cable to any of your computer USB ports.

3. Connect the iAXE USB cable other end (USB type B) to the iAXE guitar – a light should turn on on the iAxe

4. The screen on the “Audio MIDI Setup” app should change to something like this:

4. Start GarageBand

5. Select / Insert a “New Instrument”, specifying the “Electric Guitar” type (so you could use GarageBand as your AMP).

6. Connect the headphones to the iAXE

(if you want to use your computer headphone jack, this part is also different, and you should go to the STEP 13 on the end of this post. NOTE: this is slower and you need a fast computer)

7. Go the the GarageBand “Preferences”

and on the “Audio/Midi” tab, you should select the “USB Audio CODEC” for both INPUT and OUTPUT:

(if you want to use your computer headphone jack, this part is also different, and you should go to the STEP 13 on the end of this post. NOTE: this is slower and you need a fast computer)

8. Choose an Amp type … i started with “CleanCombo”

9. Note: with my iAXE i noticed that you should turn both the MASTER and OUTPUT nobs to some higher volume

10. Double Click on the AMP image to get to the AMP settings and:

– make sure the input source is “USB Audio CODEC” (mono or stereo, you know best)
– make sure to turn the monitor ON, so you can listen while you play.
– you can also drag the noise gate slider a bit lower or OFF (you should know what this is, if you ever used an Amp).

11. Play the Guitar :)

12. You could also record that track and have something like this (i’ve chosen another type of AMP).

Have fun …

And, finishing this …

13. If you want to use your computer audio (meaning speakers, headphones jack) instead of connecting the headphones to the iAXE output audio jack, you should do this steps:

13.1 On the “Audio MIDI Setup” app, create an aggregate device, clicking on the “+” (plus) button:

13.2 This device will be used for sound OUTPUT, so you should specify both the “USB Audio CODEC” and “Built-In Output” as part of it:

(notice the “out” column with the number 2 and that you should also resample both devices if needed)

13.3 Then go again to GarageBand, and on the preferences window in the “USB/MIDI” panel, set the “Audio Output” to the “Built-in Output”.

This steps will allow the output from the “USB Audio CODEC” to be also transmited to the “Built-In Output” Audio of your computer.

Hope it was useful!

Mar 11

iOS 4.3 hotspot with iPhone 3GS and iPad 1 via bluetooth

Sometimes I think I’m really obtuse, because i haven’t noticed this until now :)

Probably you’ve read that the iOS personal hotspot feature, only shares your connection via Wi-Fi if you have an iPhone 4. Since I only have an iPhone 3GS, I have been kinda grinding my teeth about this (I know I could Jailbrake it, but I haven’t really feel the need for that).

Although you could share your iPhone 3GS connection with a Mac on iOS 4.2 via bluetooth or USB, you can’t share it with an iPad. In reality, since I also have a Novatel Mi-Fi (like this one, but from vodafone PT), which I use with my Wi-Fi iPad 1 and MacBook Pro, I wasn’t really worried.

HOWEVER, today (in fact, a couple of minutes ago) I’ve found this: iOS 4.3 can now share your iPhone 3GS connection with an iPad 1, via bluetooth (it will probably also work on the iPad 2).

You just have to pair via bluetooth your iPhone 3GS with the iPad, and activate the personal hotspot feature on the iPhone.

A couple of pictures …

On the iPhone 3GS, sharing my vodafone 3G connection (note the bluetooth icon):

On the iPad, browsing to the Apple site, on the 3GS connection (note the bluetooth and linkage icon):

It’s a bit of a battery burner on the 3GS, but that is expected …