Monday, September 17, 2012

The new iPhone 5 - and why I will never buy it.

     So, Apple just released the iPhone 5, and everyone seems to be excited about it, but for me its the first iPhone I really don't want.  Now, I've done the Apple "thing" for a few years now, and I've owned every iPhone model except for the 5 and the 3gs, and that's where the iPhone road ends for me.  For one, I've got a lot of iPhone/iPod goodies - Two of my cars have iPhone integration, so does my alarm clock, and my home stereo, thanks to the 30 pin dock connector.  When the iPhone 3G came out, and dropped 12v charging, boy I was PISSED!  Apple pushes something like firewire on its customers, and then drops it.  I ended up dealing with my alarm clocks, rewiring one car's dock connector, and getting a charge adapter for the other.. which is flaky.  Now Apple changes the dock connector, and I will need  one, possibly two adapters just to use my iPod accessories.. That is definitely NOT going to happen.

     I do have a solution though, I just received a beautiful 5th gen 30g iPod I purchasiff of eBay.  Plenty of storage, wonderful click wheel, and very hackable, but best of all it works with all of the 30 pin iPod accessories, without adapters. In my opinion, its the best MP3 player out there, bar none.
   As far as the phone goes, my next personal smartphone will definitely be Android based.  I'm really quite upset with Apple in general.. I've had an on/off love affair with Linux for nearly 10 years (Ubuntu more recently) and have finally decided to kick OSX off my MacBook for good.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

JVC HA-S360 full size headphones

I've always been a fan of music, but ever since I got an iPod sometime around 2005 I have been using earbuds.  Just recently I have decided to take the plunge and get a good full sized set for better quality and some noise isolation on long trips and in the office cubicle environment.  I had a few basic requirements in mind:

- Under $50
- Single sided cord
- not flashy at all
- comfortable
- lightweight
- a mic for an iPhone would be really really nice

At my local Fry's there was one pair that met my requirements, the JVC HA-S360, for $40, so I snagged them up.

Design & Comfort

These headphones, in my opinion look great.  They are constructed of all matte black plastic, except for the endcaps of the cans, which are shiny and have JVC logo.  After just a few days, I find that these endcaps scratch easily.  The plastic construction sounds cheap but makes them quite light.  They fit my medium sized head perfectly, and my only real gripe is after awhile the vinyl ear cushions tend to heat up my ears, foam or cloth probably would have been a better choice here.  The cans also swivel and tilt making them fit your ears nicely or if you want to use them one sided DJ style.  The thin, one sided cord is a GREAT feature and really stays out of the way.  I do not understand why more headphones do not have this feature.

Sound Quality

As expected, these cans sound much better than any of the earbuds as I've tried.   They have the ability to play at VERY high volumes without distortion which I was impressed with.  While they do isolate a good bit of sound its not so much that you are going to unknowingly get run over by a car.  I listened to these while on a walk in the neighborhood and could still hear kids playing, people doing yard work, and that sort of thing, so I was not totally isolated from the environment which I thought was a good thing.  To my untrained ear, the quality seems to be very good, but not excellent as I felt like something was missing despite hearing things in some of my newer tracks that I did not know was there.  After listing to some techno and rap music I finally figured it out- the low end is somewhat lacking.  When listening to hard rock from the likes of Van Halen and AC/DC these headphones really tend to shine, as the midrange and topend are really nice.  It may just be my untrained ear, or that I'm expecting too much from headphones, but the more I listened the more I realized the sound was somewhat flat and lacking low end overall.


The JVC HA-S360 is a nice set of full size headphones for the price.  They have attractive styling without being anywhere near over the top, and are lightweight and comfortable.  The SQ is very good event at higher volumes as well, but low end is somewhat lacking which is most noticeable when playing electronic, rap, and other bass heavy music (or perhaps I expect too much).  They really shine when playing rock music.  Due to the shortcomings of these headphones and the varied styles of music I enjoy, I decided to order a set of UrbanEars Plattan, another model in my price range to see how they compare. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My favorite Macports programs

Macports is software that allows you to easily install open source *nix software on your Macintosh, easily. After having difficulty finding lists of others favorite, or "best" Macports, I thought I'd start my own.

nmap - network mapping and discovery tool

hping3 - ping tool, but with custom packets, and can ping "ports"

Dopewars - addictive drug dealing game

Fortune - Unix fortune cookie reader

aircrack-ng - Wireless network security audit tool

Lynx - text only web browser

iterm2 - improved OSX terminal

PuTTy - awesome SSH, telnet, and serial terminal client

wget - http download tool

Cisco Networking Resources

Here is a link list of great sites for anyone studying for a Cisco exam (such as myself) or anyone looking to learn more about computer networks... - "roll your own" network in a virtual environment, using real Cisco and & Juniper router images - network & router blog - free info on various IT certification exams, practice tests, etc.

ioshints - Cisco IOS hint

networkengineerblog- lots of simple, to the point posts with useful cisco commands. - a Cisco and Networking blog aggregator - a networking blog

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to "win" with your iPhone data plan

When I say "win" with your iPhone data plan, I'm not talking about how to get your unlimited data plan back now that tiered data plans are now becoming industry standard (people who were downloading huge amounts of data with unlimited plans were abusing the network anyway); what I am talking about is how you can get that cheaper, small data plan - like AT&T's $15 200mb plan - and save some cash. You'd only save $10/a month, but if you are a frugal... ok well cheap individual such as myself OR you are trying your best to stay under that 2 or 4gb DataPro limit then I've got some great data savings tips for you. Following these has brought my 1100mb/month habit to well under 2oomb with little drama.

1. iPhones are coming with up to 64GB of storage now, use it! stop streaming pandora and netflix, store your content locally

2. Use the Opera browser. Data is compressed at the server level by Opera, reducing your usage.

3. Block ads. They are not only annoying, but they steal your precious bandwidth. I personally VPN to my home, and use my own DNS server which filters internet ad servers.. But that is for another post. There are adblock apps for Jailbroken devices.

4. Jailbreak and install SBS settings. Toggles are available to quickly turn your mobile data on and off, without digging through the settings app. Things happen in the background and transmit data, so if you don't need it, simply turn it off.

Using a combination of these tips got my data usage from 700mb-1200mb/month down to under 100. The only thing I feel like missing out on is a bigger bill from AT&T.

iOS Facebook app 3.4.4 - Great improvement

So, After taking a break from the Facebook iOS app I noticed it had been updated to 3.4.4, and it is a vast improvement over the abomination that was 3.4.4. I've been using it for awhile now and crashes are GREATLY reduced, and the icons on the home screen like the inbox actually take you to the inbox. It's AMAZING. So, if you deleted the old Facebook app as I did, you can now download the latest version and look forward to an experience that won't drive you crazy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

iOS Facebook app 3.4.3 is absolutely horrid

I recently hit the update button for the Facebook iPhone app and I definitely regret it. This application crashes frequently when accessing the inbox, freezes during scrolling, and when the app does not crash when hitting the inbox "button" the user is often presented with the news feed instead of the inbox. The application is so bad in fact, I have deleted it. Hopefully a future update will resolve the problems with this application rather than continue to make it worse.

Update: This article from Cnet outlines how to downgrade an app if you still have a copy of the file on your Mac or PC. I personally have not had a chance to try it yet, but it may be worth a shot.