Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wisdom of the common man.

Never pass-up a bathroom...
Never waste a hard-on...
Never trust a fart...

Jack Nicholson, starring an aged self-made billionaire in the recent 'The Bucket List' movie, in a bizarre duet with Morgan Freeman, both suffering brain cancer and waiting for the inevitable to happen in the following half year, says these three "never" phrases, talking to his assistant, as the wisdom of the common man. He goes: One of the things you learn as you are aging are... (and the 3 "never" phrases above follow -VJK).

At times it was a hard film, especially to those of us who have been personally burdened with cancer operations. Nevertheless, you get used to it and go on to follow the story enjoying the 'odd couple' as they experience life on a tour around the globe.

When Nicholson spitted out the 3 "never", I stopped the player, rewound it and watched the scene again... and again... it was so hilarious. A great invention these DVD players, aren't they? And I am thinking, of all the movie stars I saw in almost 50 years, Nicholson must be the only one who can masterfully play scenes like that one. His diabolic eyes and eyebrows taking up a sly, naughty look that only he can do... the phrases escaping his lips in a calm, 70 RPM, base tone, word by word making an audience burst into laughter with tears; the man can do any role, but his best parts are those when he's being naughty and telling spicy stories, sure thing.

This movie was definitely one of the best I saw in recent years.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Humor Made in Greece, by Arkas.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Simpsonize yourself...

I actually did that... I uploaded a recent picture of mine to that site and a few secs later they showed me my Simpsons' avatar, ready to use. You can try this for yourselves... it's fun.

Here you can see me entering the Kwik-e-Mart for some ready made food since my dearest spouse decided not to use her super advanced kitchen for Sunday cooking...

Also sprach Goatberg!

A rather good review of

Friday, July 25, 2008

What really happened to Steve Jobs

My knowledge of the Medical Profession and its terminology is less than sub-minimal. However, I couldn't help finding that article about the state of health of His Jobness quite interesting. It seems that now that he has leaked the cause of his weight loss to NYT everybody out there in the Cloud became an expert on his medical condition. And I'm thinking... for more than seven weeks after the WWDC, reporters and bloggers have been speculating all sorts of things... Jobs is dying... he's already dead and waving at y'all from the skies... the man is half the man he used to be (I stole this from F. Mercury). Good thing that El Jobso is not a womanizer like Larry Ellison, otherwise some cloud moron might have come up suggesting he's caught Aids from one of his female VPs.

Anyways, a soothing article, to all of us modest AAPL shareholders. We are now assured by 'factual evidence' he ain't gonna die tomorrow, bless his soul. Still the 'smart ass' mystery in human behavior dealing with similar situations remains. Anyone with a double digit IQ and elementary knowledge of the medical profession could have written that article long ago. Why hasn't this happened. Now that Jobs himself leaked a plausible reason for his state of health, everyone seems to know wikipedia-like details about his condition. They are also taking the piss on the PR lady. WTF? PR ladies are there to tell the world what they are told to say, by their bosses. Won't do that? Security escorting out of the building in a heartbeat. In that sense ValleyWag are a bunch of day dreamers. Didn't they know that yet? Or, haven't they ever worked for a real company? A little visit to the White House in the Nation's Capital can teach them the basics of the PR profession made for dummies!

BO in Berlin, Germany.

Barack Obama spoke in front of a crowd of 300 thousand people (give and take) in Berlin, Germany. Almost as many as in the Annual Gay Parade. How about that? Let's stand still for a sec and think about it. BO is not even a President yet. He sure acts Presidential, no doubt. And, in honesty, he does this quite well. His Church Minister preaching style, repeating keywords sentence after sentence (he mentioned the 'wall' more often than Pink Floyd) seemed to turn Fritz flocks into collective hysteria. And all this while addressing hundreds of thousands attendees who don't even have the right to vote for him.

Before him real US Presidents speeched here with John 'Ich bin ein Berliner' Kennedy and Ronny 'Mr. Gorby, tear down that Wall' Reagan. These folks were at least heads of the most powerful nation of the world at the time they spoke in Berlin. And Berlin actually had a dividing wall then. Barack is the first one who ever tried this without being President and without any real walls to take the piss at. Strange... Bizarre! Unglaublich!

On the other hand, in Plutarch's Lives style... can you imagine a candidate for the Presidency of the EU Commission appearing on Fifth Avenue or the Central Park (to avoid causing... gridlocks) and talk to a crowd of more than... four? Do you see Jose Manuel (from Lisbon, not Barcelona) Baroso doing that? You must be shittin' me! Not even a stray dog would show-up. Maybe Tony 'Kiss-ass' Blair might manage to get a thousand souls in Central Park... yep, he might! Of whom, about a hundred were security officers. And another 300 were Broadway extras that were offered a chance to earn an extra buck. For clapping their hands each time Tony mentioned 'freedom fighters' or 'patriotic'. Once we paid Maggie 'iron teets' Thatcher 25K (USD) for a half hour keynote speech during our annual user meeting in Dallas, TX. That's the kinda venue you typically invite retired PMs, Generals, TV anchors, heroic astronauts (the Apollo 13 dudes we had once) and comedians paid handsomely to entertain the troops (those unfortunate buyers of our software products... but that's another story).

One of the reasons is of course that European 'leaders', like the current Chairman of the European Commission, our highest rank Mandarin, tiny little 'Ze Pedro' from Lisbon, Portugal, are emptier than hot-air baloons and have really very little to say. Another reason is that top functions of the European Federal Government are insignificant puppet jobs for retired politicians. In the United 'States' of Europe it's the States that have the power. European Central Government is still today a huge joke. Nevertheless, European citizens (Germans for that matter) proved once more they are much more interested in what a typical 'American Dream' Presidential Candidate has to say than attending similar events by their own Chancellor or Mr. Baroso (who is he?); aren't we Europeans full of sh*t?!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

His Jobness is alive and well!

Stop the Press! Steve's alive an' kickin'! Read the news and watch the two commentators talk about it in the streaming video of Yahoo! Finance. It's true! The Master is cancer-free and the stock may rally again!

What a world we live in. So much attention on the well-being of the CEO of a company, albeit not the largest on the planet. But, this is Steve, el Jobso. A semi-God! What am I sayin', people! The Messiah Himself!

It's so ironic! A man, whose name in conjunction with 'asshole' produces 152,000 hits on Google Search, makes front page news worldwide with a simple flu he suffered two months ago.

Is the health of Mr. Jobs a private matter like CFO Oppenheimer suggested? No way... Come on, people! We have never had anyone like him since... Jesus of Nazareth. What are you talking about Mr. O? Private f*ckin' matter? Are you out of your freakin' mind? Who's gonna do the next Pod thing then? And Ultra Hi-Def TV? And Decaphonic Stereo system? And orgasmic water mattresses? (oops!)

On a serious tone, though, his Jobness did it again! He got us scared to death , about the prospects of him dying soon... I've been depressed since last Sunday about the health news leakage. Sonovabiche! In revenge, let me add another Google hit: ASSHOLE!

I am really happy he's well and kicking, notwithstanding. I wish he lives to be hundred. For our own sake... and that of our children.

UPDATE: You should go watch the real time graph at Google Finance of the Apple stock rallying by the millisec ever since that NYT article hit the net! Real fun!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Real Daniel Lyons

While a moron Reuters reporter thought of making the news today with the most no-news article of the last ten years about the health of Steve Jobs, Daniel Lyons, a.k.a. Fake Steve Jobs, published in a Blurb book edition a large part of his funniest blogs. I went out to order the more expensive edition that counts almost 300 pages of laughter of the best kind.

I did something similar in Blurb with posts from my blog here, for my own use a few weeks ago (I mean, I'd be my own only buyer, wouldn't I?) and enjoyed putting it together*. I gotta admit though that Mr Lyons did a far better graphic design job in his book. He also managed to keep the price at an unusually low level, since, I guess, he'd be selling quite a few of those and the Blurb chiefs gave him a cool price...

I wish him the best... a must have for contemporary Apple geeks... and a collector's item in 20 years from now, mark my words!


* if you want to compare mine with Lyons', click on the badge above left to link to a preview of my book and then link via this blog to Lyons' to compare. The latter is waaaay better than mine in terms of design... I wouldn't even dare stand by him in terms of content... I had a bit of fun doing it though. Worth trying for anyone who loves the art of putting books together.


Their name is Shazam Entertainment. And, they have a peculiar biz model. They wrote this iPhone app that turns your iPhone into a music track identifier (from a database of more than 4 million tracks, they boast). It works like this... you hear a song somewhere, your radio, TV, a illegal MP3 with the wrong title, etc... and you wonder what the song or singer might be. You press the Shazam app button on your iPhone, and Shazam starts recording the sound (keep quiet otherwise you'll distort the sound too much and it won't be able to find out accurately). Provided you are internet connected (wifi, EDGE or 3G) Shazam sends the recorded sound to an engine in the cloud that quickly analyzes the sample and sends back full data of the song, name, artists, even CD/LP cover illustrations. And if you like it to the point you wanna buy it, it links you to iTunes to place your order and download it on the spot!

Now, listen! I don't know how often this happens to you, to wanna find out about some good song you are listening to... it happens to me more and more as I age and my memory is no more what it used to be... The app is a free download and I still wonder how they make their money these folks from Shazam Entertainment. From their homepage they appear to only have this one app! That's it. I am sure though that there's more behind it. If you got to store digitally encoded 4 million tracks on rapidly accessible storage and need to run simultaneous transactions from requests around the globe in the hundreds (or thousands) at any given moment, then these folks must have aligned some serious horsepower in terms of host servers and CPUs to run the service.

I wish I was twenty again and my dad was a rich dude... all this high tech and global connectivity is so much fun to be around nowadays. I can't get it that so many youths in our times are suicidal and take their own lives. We couldn't afford even a TV in my times... we got palmtop devices now that tell you where you are if your are lost, tell you what songs are played anywhere from the sound they are 'listening to', show you the lyrics so you can sing along while... driving (well, not you, I reckon), keep you busy with stupid games if you are bored to death, tell you how and where to invest your money if you got some spare, show you the latest YouTube insanity... and so much more. The limit is a geek software developer's wildest imagination. What are we gonna see next?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is it worth the upgrade? You bet!

You are a proud owner of an iPhone Classic (1.1.4). Cool! Version 2 of its firmware is out in the open as the 3G hit the market on July 11th, and you been wondering whether you should move to this next version. If you are a legit user this is a non-question. Of course you do. It's part of being a geek for modern gadgetry. New versions bring about new functionality and prettier interfaces. If the upgrade is free you do move in a heartbeat.

What about the unlocked, cracked and jailbroken devices though, that have been sold out there in the millions, from Nigeria and Ghana to India and Finland? It's true! They are out there in the millions. Even Apple admits this. When His Jobness publicly said that in the WWDC last June was like he passed a law to legitimize love-children.

This is the thing. What if you (try to) move to 2.0 and you screw up your classic? Happened, you know... It's a real dilemma, you know! If it works, fine... you are on cloud nine. But... you screw up and you are about to cut your wrists!

Myself, I am using an iPod Touch to do everything an iPhone does with the exception of the phone bit. Like Dave Mathews (with one t) said in the latest Cranky Geeks episode: that thing (the iPhone) is too nice for calling people... it's not made for that. I enjoy all the rest it does via hotspots. All I really need is an iPod Touch!

Ich bin gleich Dave Mathews
on this. I use my iPod to do all I need. I upgraded to 2.0 (legit, mind you) and I gotta say, it's marvelous. Two reasons:
  1. Push-pull and sync of mails, contacts, and calendars, all at the same time.
  2. Third party apps. Too much to mention!
I wish I had GPS and LBS* on this pod as well... and maybe some cheap data transmission without hotspots but with 3G or Wimax or somethin'... no need to call people with... even so, without those extras, I am still quite happy with it. Only thing, it's still too expensive a hardware gadget as it is. In Holland and Germany you pay a euro for a bleedin' iPhone 16 Gig and a 2 year subscription slightly spicier than normal**, but what the heck? The iPhone itself will only cost you one 'symbolic' euro! On the other hand, you pay 350 euros for an iPod... Pathetic!

*Location Based Services
** T-Mobile in Holland offers for a monthly fee of 45-50 euros and two years commitment, some 300 min on voice comms, 300 SMSs and free data transmission (3G) and the iPhone for 1 euro. Ain't that cool?!

Crackin' the Classic into 2.0

I never thought they would crack the 2.0 firmware that fast but they did it, and I wonder how much of that is actually sought for by Apple itself. The 'dev'ils of 'Dev'Team who created the Pwnage Tool for cracking the iPhone sound like 'russian' but I wonder what their origins are. I am sure everybody else knows about them but, pardon me, I heard of them first time ever only this morning, so my guess might be totally off the charts... I knew of the ZiPhone hacks who apparently seem to be slow-responding to the 2.0. They published a statement instead... bla...bla...bla...

Anyways, having found on a usenet server the DevTeam's latest version of their crack, a.k.a. PwnageTool, including the 3.9 and 4.6 bootloaders (WTF are these?!), I said, I'd give it a try. On the shot on the left, you see four files that are necessary to do this upgrade from 1.1.4 to 2.0. If you find and download the Tool itself (easy on the Net), make sure you find the bootloaders shown here and the firmware upgrade as well. I have no clue whether these bootloaders are necessary but it appeared in my configuration that the Tool needed them. In all honesty I know as much about mobile phone OS's as I can speak Cantonese Chinese... I am just doing what the software tells me to do...

Anyways, the process 'made for dummies' is the following: In the Tool, you select your own specific case, that is to say, iPhone Classic, iPodTouch or 3G iPhone. You then follow instructions and at the end the Tool prepares a custom firmware upgrade file that you may save on your desktop to be able to find back easy. It also asks whether you cracked your iPhone with the PwnageTool ever before; here you must say 'Yes'. You're probably lying on your face on this but please do answer 'Yes'. When it then asks you whether you are a 'legit user' tell'em the truth. I don't know whether it counts on doing their custom build but I said 'no' and it worked! Truth works!

After preparing the custom firmware build and saved it on your desktop (it's a file called iPhone1,1_2.0_5A347_Custom_Restore.ipsw), it'll tell you to close the app, open iTunes, and connect your iPhone via a USB port by putting it in Restore mode (turn it off altogether and hold the home button down while plugging it in the USB port of your Mac... keep holding home down until you see the familiar cable shot telling you to connect it to your iTunes). Once there, iTunes reacts that it's got to restore it to the newest version... now hold down the 'option' key on your Mac and click that restore button in iTunes. The process starts and a few minutes later iTunes tells you that all is done and asks you to hit OK and wait for the iPhone to restart. At that moment I found that I had to unplug the iPhone from the Mac and let it continue on its own the restart process. It said something about loading bootloaders and basebands and after 4-5 minutes it was just ready to go. Connecting the phone back to iTunes took care of its entire restore to the original data (contacts, mails, even SMSs, etc...) Super Cool!

Don't tell me Apple didn't want that to happen. In a week and change from the launch of the 3G, all classic jailbroken iPhones can move without a hitch to 2.0... c'm on! Why not, by the way? Their app store is going to get an extra few million customers overnight... most people I know would give their right arm for a fraction of this.

I believe the advantage to iPhone classic owners is just about the new apps and the 'push' mail, calendar and contact data in combi with GPS and 3G speeds are hardware related add-ons that are only available on the 3G reincarnation of the gadget and are of course missing from the classic version... (Jeez, barely over a year old and we call it a classic!).

Anyways, enjoy those apps folks... many are real fun and most are free or real cheap! As the Greeks say, cheap pricin' eats up the dough!

UPDATE: In the meantime, some smart kid pointed me via Twitter to a full blown "how-to" illustrated process (unfortunately only written in Dutch) that seems to be identical to my experiences. Go have a look and try it if interested. Even their opening shot (the four files needed) looks very much like mine!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sharing files in

Another promise that did not yet materialize is the sharing of files whereby you pick-up a file on your idisk, you press a 'share' button and 'me' creates an email message that contains a 'download' button; you can then send that email note to those who you wanna give download rights to that file (instead of mailing it by attaching it to a message, which might be impossible if the file is pretty large).

John, the Applestore 'salesman' shows this function in the guide movie of with a lot of excitement but in reality this function doesn't work as of yet; there's only a 'download' button when you are on your idisk and select any file, but no 'share' button whatsoever. This is kind of insane because, why on earth would you wanna download a file from your idisk as it was probably you who uploaded it there in the first place... (other than backup and recovery).


Conclusion: unusually for Apple, this launch has been a bit of a cluster fuck, pardon my French!

I was right after all...

So, my experiences about push-pull were right. Even Apple admitted it in a letter to its loyals...

"We have recently completed the transition from .Mac to Mobile.Me. Unfortunately, it was a lot rockier than we had hoped.

Although core services such as Mail, iDisk, Sync, Back to My Mac, and Gallery went relatively smoothly, the new MobileMe web applications had lots of problems initially. Fortunately we have worked through those problems and the web apps are now up and running.

Another snag we have run into is our use of the word “push” in describing everything under the MobileMe umbrella. While all email, contact or calendar changes on the iPhone and the web apps are immediately synced to and from the Mobile.Me “cloud,” changes made on a PC or Mac take up to 15 minutes to sync with the cloud and your other devices. So even though things are indeed instantly pushed to and from your iPhone and the web apps today, we are going to stop using the word “push” until it is near-instant on PCs and Macs, too.

We want to apologize to our loyal customers and express our appreciation for their patience by giving all current subscribers an automatic 30-day extension to their MobileMe subscription free of charge. Your extension will be reflected in your account settings within the next few weeks.

We hope you enjoy your new suite of web applications at, in addition to keeping your iPhone and iPod touch wirelessly in sync with these new web applications and your Mac or PC.”

Thank you,

The MobileMe Team"

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Push Pull to/from the cloud!

I don't know about you, folks, who rushed and updated to 2.0 or happen to have put your arms around the new gottahavit 3G. I have been trying what they said in the demo (no manuals read yet), especially about the push-pull to 'n from the cloud of emails, contacts and calendar events.

Here's what's happening to me:

Mail push to both laptops/desktops and iPhones/iPodTouch seems to be working, somehow. Receive a mail on your account and it appears on Pods and laptops pretty quick. On the mobile device it will still show on the 'home' icon even if the mail app is closed. On a laptop though, it will only show on the dock icon if you happen to have the mail client up and running (albeit inactive). It won't show when the mail client is not launched. Good to know.

For calendars and contacts, again, the mobile devices appear to behave properly... New events and/or changes in calendars and contacts seems to work and sync in secs. But, it's even worse than the mail clients with those client laptop apps of Calendars and Contacts. Nothing happens in secs like John from the Applestore claims in the guide video of You gotta launch (force) an iSync before anything happens. Even if you specified automatic updates in the iSync prefs. That's what I found out. What's the use of automatic updates then? Search me...

Now, if you decide to abandon all your local client apps (mail, calendars and contacts), and use the web apps instead, everything indeed happens in secs. It seems that the Apple mobile devices (iPhone and iPodTouch) actually do what people expect them to do, having listened to what John said. Anything you do on a mobile device, from the moment you hit 'done' it's pushed into the cloud and updates your cloud server data. Therefore, updates of your data are instantaneously visible when you use the web apps (which actually read and write that cloud data by design). On laptops though, you need to force an update via iSync (even when you specified 'Automatic' updates in your prefs, as I mentioned earlier) to make your local apps show the same contact data and calendar events as in the cloud and on your mobile devices.

That's what I experienced, after a few tests. I don't know about you, but if you think I am wrong and I forget something, respond to my twits @vkritis.

Good push-pulling kids...

Friday, July 11, 2008

First white iPhone unpacking caught on film...

iPhone 3G unboxing from Duncan Riley on Vimeo.

3Gphrenia cont'd

Don't you just love shots like this? It only takes a Yank or a Jap to make such a fool of himself. We, Europeans, are too 'good' for this type of emotional show-off, other than on soccer games... especially when our squad wins the game.

Now, if you are interested in the beast's guts take a surf at iFixit for a good look and some interesting conclusions (like the non-soldered battery and more...).

And for more non-stop gossip flowing in from around the globe, visit gizmodo. Enjoy the ride, folks, and hug your brand new 3G marvel. Time to can your Berries and Mobile Windows garbage. And rise to a geek's nirvana... a new century has turned.

3G blast!

Do you kids all remember the turn of the century eight years ago? When we were watching CNN showing the turn to Y2K from Sydney, Tokyo, Bejing, Delhi, and on and on from east to west? With all the fuzz and fireworks and stuff?

Well, that's what I thought of today at the reading of this article. We are living all over again the turn of a century with the 3G going on sale. Other than a monumental cluster f*ck they got into with yesterday's launch of (still down after almost 20 hours now) Apple is doing well again. Even in after hours trading it's picked up a couple of bucks yesterday evening, having dropped with the market on Tuesday at levels it doesn't deserve. Good for us with AAPL stock in our hands (bought mine few years back @ 15 bucks a piece and was scared I paid too much for it... Geez! Better be born lucky than rich, as my late pal Graham Price from Wales, UK, used to say... RIP)

Other experiences of the last 24 hours? Yep, I upgraded to 7.7 and was able to download a few minor apps from the app-store but connecting my iPod Touch (no jailbreak monkey biz ever done) yielded nooooothingggg*! Other than hanging my iTunes a couple of times... Any update? Nooooothingggg*! 1.1.4 seems to be their latest up to this moment of writing. I guess they wait for the flower kids in California to see the July 11th sunrise in PDT before they release any of that.

In the meantime, all those amateurs with jailbroken iPhones of the 1st G are seriously warned by ziPhone to stay away from iTunes 7.7 or any iPhone 2.0 upgrades and wait for the 'Z' Master's new crack! Good luck suckers! You ain't gonna get GPS on your pathetic jailbroken stuff whatever you do...

in Zibri's words (a geek's ultimate 21st century poetry...) :

The device failsafe utility
(or Device firmware upgrade as someone says),
better known as DFU
it's a failsafe basic (and quite trivial) bootloader
present on the iPhone.
This is the weak point of the iPhone 2G and
hopefully 3G.
This post maybe means nothing to you,
but before anyone will say I copied/robbed anything
just remember you read it here first.
I will not release anything tomorrow.
And I strongly suggest
not to upgrade itunes nor the iPhone.

Stay tuned.

Good luck suckers! You ain't gonna get GPS on your pathetic jailbroken stuff whatever you do...

* as said Manuel from Barcelona, Courtesy of Faulty Towers ;-)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Missin' you already...

For the last so many months (say years) Bill Gates has been retiring from Microsoft. Especially in the last weeks he has been touring the world to provide 'exclusive' interviews to a ton of networks, newspapers and celebrity reporters around the globe... how exclusive can that be?!

Anyway, radio personality Dave Ross of KIRO-AM/710 in Seattle noticed a blogpost about a Bill Gates' (Jan 2003) email rant about Windows 'being a mess' and channeled the Microsoft chairman's frustrations for a dramatic reading of that message on air yesterday morning. You can listen to him reading the message here.

The story is simple: The Borg tried to download Movie Maker from a Microsoft download URL and... he experienced what the rest of us who are stupid enough to still use Windows experience on a regular basis. It's awesome to hear that from the once richest man of the world who is also responsible for the birth and growth of Windows as well. How cool can that be?

Have a look (or a hear, better said) to that linked audio file and pay attention to every word of that mail as it's being read by Mr. Ross. As I have been listening to it myself I've been thinking: the number of times I've been there and the life I wasted in similar moments... if I had a penny for each minute lost like this in the last 20 years, I'd be filthy rich by now. That infamous email dates from 2003... it's probably then when the Borg decided to split, realizing that he had created a monster.

In the meantime, the geniuses among ourselves have been using Mac OSX and its collection of wild cats. And we enjoy every minute of it!