Sunday, February 28, 2010

iPhone tethering enabled with 3.1.3 on Proximus

My offspring told me the good news earlier today. He's on Mobile Vikings, a young and agile local operator, and he said that they have been recently 'advertising' to their subscribers about tethering on 3.1.3. I searched the net with the usual suspect keywords and to my astonishment I found quite a few stories about the 3.1.3 tethering ability for Proximus subscribers. I mentioned 'astonishment' because Proximus is notorious for leaving its customers in the cold about details like these. Anyhow, there are plenty enough friendly souls in the blogosphere who offer free advice to do the job instead of big lazy fatso Belgacom NV*.

Actually, preparing the iPhone tethering is quite simple. After upgrading to firmware version 3.1.3 the settings/general/cellular data network path leads you to three field groups, Cellular Data, MMS and Tethering. The Proximus setting for Tethering is identical to the Cellular Data, that is, APN is set equal to internet.proximus.be, and the Login and Password fields are left empty. Reboot and you are good to go. Make sure that after restart you set Tethering to 'on', following the path settings/general, just below Data Roaming. Morale of the story: you don't really have to go look for those conspicuous ipcc files corresponding to your host operator, and get pissed if you can't manage to get one, as your operator happens to be just one of these monopolistic mules (like mine is), who don't care a diddly squat about which hardware you use. All you need to do is manually enter the APN value for your operator** (mine is Proximus as you might have guessed), and then reboot, to be on the safe side that it'll work.

I must admit, I haven't been able to get USB to work on my Macbook. Don't exactly know why. I might have deleted by accident (!?) the corresponding port in my Network settings. First time ever I tried the tethering some time ago (was it with iPhone version 3.0?) the Macbook created such a port automatically, and connected to the iPhone the Mac way, no fuss whatsoever... I think. Not this time though. Who knows what happened to that USB port? The way I'm usually going about with my MacBook system software (and settings) nothing can surprise me anymore. So, this time over I tried tethering via Bluetooth. I have always had bad experiences with Bluetooth on my Macs, but this time the Macbook connected to the iPhone just fine, on the first try. The CyberGods heard my prayers after all, inchallah! After that happened, the familiar tethering alert appeared on the iPhone just below the clock title, in a blueish band. Browsing on the Macbook responded right away next, in a heartbeat.

Initially, I'd forgotten to set my cellular network to 3G, and browsing on the Mac was kinda slow, like in the old days, like with turtle slow modems. After setting the speed to 3G though, Macbook browsing went stellar. I was impressed, I mean it. On an iPhone, 3G browsing is pretty fast too, but as I just found out, way slower than the equivalent tethered browsing on the Macbook. I wonder what browsing speeds we shall end up experiencing on iPads, by the way. Will they be as fast as on tethered Macbooks or will they be more like iPhones? Who can tell? If the 3G-iPad web browsing proves as slow as on iPhones however, then it's no good to wait for these models to come out at all. Just go grab one off the first shipments, with only the Wifi available. Also, could the lowest spec iPad model be tethered to iPhones? I wonder about that too. A few more weeks and I suspect we shall get all answers to these burning questions. One way or another, I can't wait to put my hands on one of these marvels though. I love iPhone to my heart but web browsing and some other hot iPhone apps are desperately screaming for much larger real estate, especially for aging dudes with deteriorating vision like myself.

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* If Belgacom publishes 'help' tips about these issues, apologies for my earlier comments. It's curious though that, if they did, their tips don't seem to show up in Google's high ranks, like they do with Mobile Vikings and others like them...
** There are plenty of websites available showing APN settings for almost every operator on the planet. For tethering, just use the same settings as for Cellular Data - these are the values you're likely to spot on such websites.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why TF do Angela's Krauts get so excited about Greece nowadays?



I had a Texan boss in the nineties who, when he found out one day about the awful state of a sales deal we were working on, he said... "you know, things get sometimes so bad that you can either shed bitter tears about it or laugh your ass off! Sorry dudes, but life's too short for weeping!"

I kinda felt the same way when I saw the picture montage above this afternoon. Trust me, I also chose to LMAO! Big time! No way I'd shed any tears for this shit!

Here's the thing, folks. Focus is a smart ass German tabloid, run by some genius editor-in-chief, who, looking to sell some extra populist copies to his miserable German audience, came up recently with a cover page shown on the left side of the shot. Large type sez: "Impostor in the European family..." smaller type continues: "...brings Greece to us (begging) for our money - and what about Spain, Portugal and Italy?"... in other words, those cheap f@cks (the Greek cabinet, that is) count on our honest German money to save their ass. And, fit to purpose, Milo's Venus has miraculously stem-cell grown a marble right arm (oh, the miracles of Photoshop) with her middle finger pointing up-yours! Say what? Sounds like "Anti-Christ"! And I thought Germans genuinely respected us, the modern Greeks, the sons of our forefathers, the Golden Age Classics... why should they else fill their cities, a century ago, with those ugly (neo)classic monsters to praise the grandeur of their blue-eyed blond Aryan superiority? Pity. No respect whatsoever for the poor Plato's and Aristoteles' offsprings. Our glorious ancients with our Olympus Gods must definitely turn around in their graves...

I gather the Krauts have got something against minorities... seventy years ago their grandpas and dads were after the Jews, Commies and the Gypsies, nowadays the Turks, followed by us Greeks... not far behind those poor sods from Portugal and then the Spaniards... with spaghetti Italians next... hey, hold on a sec! This ain't any minorities no more... holy Jesus, they are again up against the entire freakin' Europe... thinking that we are all after their honest sweat-earned dough (well... kinda honest sort of thing - ask those bedrüger at the top of their 'Aryan' Siemens, who not long ago were throwing Euro-Billions around for 'kickbacks'... talking about German integrity, my ass!)... I wonder, how long will they need to start taking the piss against the French and the Brits as well, again! Deutschland über alles, right? When did we hear that again?

Responding to this Focus farse, the Greek "bedrüger" answer was promptly printed on a local magazine with clever Greek humor (ROFL) for the Focus geniuses to enjoy, shown in the shot above on the right. A fifteen incher (no viagra needed) satyre telling the Krauts: "Mentioned our dues? Take this instead (suckers), after you paid our damages first from the last war..."

Seriously now, like I recently claimed in another blog, it ain't just the Greeks alone who are to blame in this clustefuck. It all started with the riches of Europe in the nineties who became obsessive about bringing-in the Euro, and then forced the small and the needy (those with no financial force to even wipe their own ass) into a permissible 3% GDP deficit percentage that was entirely from another world! And when the small and the needy said they were 'ready', the Godfathers replied: "come along kids". No questions asked. When the shit hit the fan next, like the meltdown we saw in 2008, the small and the needy imploded. The big shot Central European guns (you know, the usual suspects) who manage our destinies since the times this (ad)venture linked them with the three Benelux (Mickey Mouse) countries in the fifties, supported by their Euro-trash ECB apparatchiks who keep blowing the horns of rage out of Frankfurt, have now come out to take the shit on the small and the needy again, with the insanely naif Greeks leading the parade, waving the flags of financial shame, for deceiving them riches and emptying their wallets.

C'm on folks... didn't those Eurostat morons know the number cooking has been taking place for whole nine freakin' years? Anybody with a gram of gray matter in his skull knew that was going on for years now... remember, those financial engineering tricks used in Greece were first tested in the riches backyards first, starting from the likes of Wall Street and the City. Greeks are far too simple minds... they're pretty smart in thieving breadcrumbs off the riches tables but no loafs, trust me. I'd buy that, no questions asked! That's all they know how to do. They ain't that smart though for big ass financial engineering shit. They ain't no Goldman Sachs, or JP Morgan, or Lehman Bros, in their dreams. Greeks are kindergarden compared... Oh, yeah, and they are monumentally cretin too. Everybody else has played same dirty tricks and kept quiet, but them stupid Greeks are moronic to such a degree that they even started to boast about it, after they pushed their deficit off the charts. Playing more Catholic than the bleedin' Pope, kinda thing! And so, those Focus Krauts now think and keep moaning that it's just darn Greece who did wrong and begging for their coins, right? If you can believe that, then you better start faking an orgasm while jerking off... it's a more fun way to experience self-deception.

Don't know why, but I feel kinda like iron tits Maggie Th. today. I like Germany so much that I'd have liked to keep having two of them, after all...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How will you manage?

Interesting clip created by XPLANE, the visual comms company, for KRONOS, the HR company.

The presentation was created with Apple's Keynote, one of the three iWork components.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Constantin Erinkoglou's Notos in Brussels

"In de keuken" (in the kitchen) is a TV programme on Canvas (Flanders, Belgium) presented by Wim Opbrouck, a talented Flemish guy who really does far too many things to describe here. Among them, he runs NTG, he's an actor, he does documentaries, you name it. In this last gig he presents a food programme under a cool concept. He visits well-known restaurants in the country and interviews the Chefs. They talk about themselves, their careers, their ideas, and they also prepare a few fine recipes. They then hand those recipes over to Wim who next approaches a few BV's (short for Flemish VIPs) and asks them to cook in their own kitchen what the Chefs prescribed. Sheer fun.

In his last episode Wim visited Constantin Erinkoglou, Chef of the restaurant Notos in Brussels. I'm not sure whether this Chef has ever earned any Michelin stars yet, but, who cares. He's one of the best living Chefs... Belgian ex-PM Dirk Verhofstadt would undersign this statement in the blink of an eye! Of course, not every chef can manage to become a show off like Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver, this much we all know. You gotta own a Brittish gob to get that far. Not that English cooking is worth anything, mind you. Read Asterix in Helvetia to see what I mean.  In any case, to me, Costas is a much better Chef than either of them posh Brits... Voila!

Chef Erinkoglou cooked two recipes during the forty minute programme, that is, "Flowers of Pontos" and "Stuffed Shoulder" (Fleurs de Pontos and Epaule farcie, it definitely sounds tastier in French, right?). You can enjoy watching him preparing both recipes in the clips I posted on YouTube as Part 1 and Part 2 of that programme. To make it more fun I've even taken the amateurs' (Wim's BV friends) scene cuts out of the clips. They just spoiled it... sorry Wim. Especially that hilarious baldie with his Antwerpian accent and the Nazi name...

What about Constantin? You see, the thing is, I've been to his restaurant only four times in my life! It took me a few years to get there, after his fame has first reached my ears, and then, when I managed to visit, oh Gosh, I just wanted to come back. However, I only managed to do this 4 times... I promise you, I'll have to get back though, over and over... His cooking is sheer art! He does to your tasting senses what poems do to your ears... He manages to combine textures, tastes and flavors that I haven't tasted ever, certainly since I left home and my mom's cooking. There's another one I know, who gets kinda close in terms of skill, initially from Myconos, later moved to Athens... Η Ρένα της Φτελιάς for the Greek connoisseurs among you...

Why? you might ask... Why is Constantin such a star? Well, our experience of great cooking is generally pretty hard to describe with simple words. Watch the clips to see what I mean. This Chef is not just a cook! Above all, he's a courageous individual who exchanged the boring and uselss life of a Eurocrat for the life of a Chef. True story! He's also a wonderful poet! Poetry with food. The Aegean Sea, Mount Olympus and τα μπαχαρικά (spices) of the East! Minimalist but extremely powerful concepts. What do you need more? And Chef Erinkoglou does his craft to entertain us, miserable capitalists, bureaucrats, bankers and politicians. Listening to Constantin makes you love the Greeks and their country once again. Despite what the tabloids tell you about their lack of ethics in their financial dealings.

"...you must have a real talent" sez Wim. "Well", responds Constantin, "if you are motivated to do something, and you keep doing it day-in, day-out, well... that eventually becomes your talent". Reminds me what dearest Malcom Gladwell developed as a theory about the most skillful of the World in his recent bestseller "The Outliers". With persistence and hard work the best become even better. It's true!

I'd rather stop here. I'd spoil your experience if I continued. Watch the two clips instead. About 18 min in total. If you understand French and get the meaning of Constantin's talk, you'll be stunned by the quality of his reasoning. No wonder he turns simple carbs and proteins into poetry. Well done, bro!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Photofunia

If you feel kinda bored today and wanted to try something real cool, try Photofunia. A free app on the iPhone that offers a long series of scenes in which you can add a picture of your own and make it look real weird! I experimented with a bunch of effects they offer (by far not exhaustive of what they have available) and I must admit the results are way too cool, at least for viewing on a monitor (not enough pixels for quality printing though). Take a look at the album I posted in my gallery to get the taste. As I said, if nothing else useful to do, feel free to waste some of your life experimenting with this. BTW, if you were wondering what's so special about Miss Jolie in the shot here, ask my youngest sibling about it... He's still chasing me!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Eurotrash

Reuters published an article yesterday about a German poll that 'shows' German opposition to the Greek bailout. Moreover, the poll demonstrated that common Germans supported the idea of throwing Greece out of the Eurozone altogether. So much for European Union and mutual support...

I had no particular intent to pretend to justify what Greeks have been doing under the leadership by both Socialist and Conservative parties in the last 10 years. As someone claimed, Greece is a poor country but Greeks are bleeding rich! How come? It's called massive citizen tax evasion, obnoxious tax controller corruption, and cabinets of lying bastards. Add these to do the math. Result: Modern Greece real* budget deficits jumping off the charts. But Greece is not alone in its problems. The recent crisis hit equally many more needy countries in the Eurozone, like Spain, Ireland and Portugal to mention a few. And how about Romania and Bulgaria? Are these 'clean'? Because, if you're looking to start a consulting practice in tax evasion and other forms of corruption, then, it's here you need to recruit your best experts. And, by the way, how about Austria and Hungary, whose banking systems are chronically under severe threat of defaulting, taking the rest of our own banking industry down the drain?!

Long story short. Europe suckz big nowadays, almost everywhere. However, as clumsy as they are, my 'poor' Greek compatriots managed to get stuck in the bull's eye of everybody's radar screen, especially the Wall Street short-selling hawks who have been looking desperately for any dark stories to start a wave for short-selling anything that moves. And the Greeks eventually made the headlines, while hordes of Eurotrash bureaucrats continue to take the piss on them, with that genius ECB chairman Trichet barking all over.

Of course, the media are playing their beloved and insanely irresponsible role too. Some among them went to poll a bunch of German xenophobes who are so keen to always discount anything non-German in a heartbeat, of course. I bet you a year's salary that multiple questions in that German poll were about throwing Greece and other poor countries off the Eurozone. Like, any average Kraut knew what "Eurozone" means, in the first place. It's reminiscent of what some great mind once said: With polls and statistics you can always prove whatever your heart desires. Using stats is like the equivalent of faking an orgasm while masturbating. The maximum of self-deception, in other words.

Whatever...

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*Following the advice of a few Wall Street sharks, who fucked-up the US economy during many years of masterful financial engineering trickery, such as the likes of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, the Greek authorities were able to hide huge loans from their Eurostat disclosures, and could therefore be considered to have fulfilled the Eurozone requirement of staying below the regulating 3% GDP in its budget deficits. They did that by using, among other, derivative mechanisms that were perfectly 'legal', like interest rate and currency swaps. But, as we all know, financial engineering cannot create value out of hot air... if spending remains high, GDP low and tax percentages invariable (leading to tax income below spending), financial engineering will only delay the inevitable end. It's like morphine to cease the pain of a terminal cancer patient. With its 10 million inhabitants the 300B dollars of Greek national debt translates into 30K of burden for every man woman and child in the 'cradle of civilization'. No wonder that the cash-running-off-their-ears Chinese won't touch Greece nowadays even with a long pole!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

MS Office 2010 Beta


I am like, Forgive me Steve* for I have sinned. What did you do, my son? sez Steve... Well, Steve, I went out to test the Evil Empire's Office 2010 beta. Steve's like: Burn to hell, pathetic cheat! You see, folks, I found out that Microsoft have made their 2010 Office beta available to the miserable Windows aficionados (that is, almost the entire 6.7B people living on the planet), and I said to myself, what else have you got to do this Sunday, kid? Let's go test it. Of course, many of you already know by now that I usually run Windows on a Mac, with the specs you see hereunder. Of course I run Windows 7 under Parallels 5.

First time I launched Word after the Office package install (download size almost 700 MB and installation went impeccably smooth) I kinda thought to myself... 'Shoot, that's fokkin' quick'! Tried again and it came out even quicker (that's normal, as it keeps many of its libs in mem even after you close down the app). Launched Excel, lightning fast, some 1.7 secs. Access didn't even have the time to display the launch title window... Publisher, same thing. Word took below 4 secs and the rest less than 2 secs. I even believe Access was a subsecond launch. Wow!

I then decided to test the same on 2008 Office for Mac. Word was almost as fast as the 2010 Word (pretty cool, eh?). But Excel and Powerpoint were 50 to 80% slower than the 2010 Office. Finally, for kicks, I launched my iWork apps, Mac's native, but not in 64 bit yet. Well, all three of them, Pages, Keynote and Numbers, needed 2 to 4 times longer launch times.

I wanted to share this with you, folks, so I've  Screenflown it into a MOV file and sent it to YT... enjoy the clip above. Every time I launched an Office app, I added a text label in Screenflow (white type on black background) to appear in the clip with the app's name on it. When the launch completes, label disappears. Check it out...

What do we learn from that? Obviously we learn that,
  1. First, the best boxes to run Windows apps are Macs.
  2. Second, MS Office 2010 seems to fly supersonic, at least at launch time (and further too, as far as I was able to test)
  3. Third, other than launch times, little I saw in terms of new functionality that could blow your socks off. On the contrary, it remains quite a menu driven and configuration sprawl intensive package. Some GUI pop-ups reminded me of Windows 95 and 3.11. When are the MonkeyBoy kiddos ever gonna learn?
Nevertheless, Steve, I reckon, after Apple launches the 64 bit iWork, all what I said above will be yesterday's news. Whatever. I just wanted you to know... Even better, for all of you folks out there who never used a Mac, prepare for a lightning fast and orgasmic experience on your miserable Wintel boxes when Office 2010 gets commercial.

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* Obviously, this is Jobs, not fokkin' Ballmer!

PhotoSpeak


Over the weekend I discovered this iPhone app that listens to the name PhotoSpeak. Concept is simple but the results are limitless. You select a portrait picture from your embedded photo library, on your iPhone (iPod Touch, and soon iPad), or you even shoot one on the spot, with your iPhone camera. It then sends the shot over the net to the mothership. Lightning fast servers analyse the content next and kinda "vectorize" it. The result is sent back to your iPhone for viewing. All happens in a matter of secs, depending on your connection speed. The original picture seems suddenly like it's got life in it. The portrait eyes follow your finger as you touch the screen on various positions. You can even record a message on the spot via the phone's mic and PhotoSpeak lip syncs it with the talking head.

Next, you can upload it to your YouTube account and tell friends about it. All this from the convenience of your iPhone or iPod Touch (and soon iPad). Simply phenomenal...stunning! Only limitation is that a spoken audio message can only be a min long. And the resulting clip too. No worries though. You can do longer clips if you add up many one minute ones and then upload them to Youtube. From YT you download them back to your PC or Mac and glue them together in a simple movie package like iMovie or Vegas. The format is MP4.

Watch the clip above. Mind you, I created this clip with PhotoSpeak starting from a painting I did some 15 years ago. See the original source picture here... I used the iPhone inside PhotoSpeak to record some bullshit content about a minute long and the soft lipsynced it with the talking head! My kids, who have been used to see the original painting hanging on our walls for so long, were shocked to see the result. Harry Potter kinda thing!

This way, you can surprise your spouse by using her mother's talking head and have someone speak something naughty in it, to make it sound like your real in-law... it's even better if the latter has already passed away... a message from the dead... wouldn't that be a wonderful tease?

As I mentioned... possibilities are limitless. You can even fake Bin Laden passing a 'sexy' message to his 1000 virgins on Valentine's...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Would I buy an iPad, you might wonder...

You betsa! Question is, not whether I'd buy an iPad... question is, how many I'd buy, and which models precisely! Well, in all seriousness, I'd definitely ignore the 3G model for the time being... 2 reasons, maybe 3. One, we gotta wait until the cows come home for the 3G models over here, in Europe. Second, 3G data transmission is too bleeding slow and insanely expensive per miserable megabyte. Blame protocols and operators, not Apple! I'm used to download at 25 Mbits/sec on my cable connection, some 100 GBs a month, so 3G looks like a darn 80ies modem in comparison. And third, 3G data is only good when you're driving in traffic jams, far from hotspots and WiMAX, with plenty of time to do some interneting. But then, I'd rather be using the iPhone instead. I got no time or space to handle an iPad on a driver's seat... too clumsy. I usually click-mount my iPhone on a Tom Tom holder sucked on the windscreen and check on the spot whatever I need. Apple's iPhone software architecture is way too cool for these uses. It'd get rather risky for traffic otherwise. For the rest, I'm doing most of my 'serious' internet-ing inside wifi footprints anyways. Aren't you?

Next, you might be still curious to ask, why the heck would I go buy an iPad at all. Why not a Google tablet (if it ever comes to be) or the Kindle! Are you kiddin' me? No way. I got iPhones (yes, plural) and iPods (more than a dozen) and Macbooks and iMacs and Mac minis, Apple TV, Time Capsules, Airports, the works... You got it. I'm an Apple addict. And proud of it. Sure do! Why? Because I can! I buy everything Apple brings to the market. Only their servers I haven't ever tried (yet). I even owned Power towers early on but ever since their iMacs came to being, I like them better, especially the 27 inch gozilla!! I even got an Intel quad on my latest buy. I must be on my fourth iMac, I reckon. My entire family must have made Apple rich with all the stuff we've been buying from them the last 10 years or so!

Thus, being an Apple aficionado is the first reason why I'd buy an iPad. Second, its way too cool to let it be. I gotta admit, the iPhone is gorgeous and some apps are just plain orgasmic, but for an aging dude like myself, screen type's getting painfully small and unreadable. Buy some spectacles? Maybe, but I prefer the larger iPad TFT instead. BTW, a pair of spectacles costs as much as an iPad in our neighborhood. What would you buy if you had a choice? Right, you're welcome!

Ever since I owned an iPhone, it kinda became the first thing I 'touch' when I wake up in the morning. Serious. Ask the spouse! No kiddin'!! I gotta check the latest news, weather for the day, overnight email, forex, any WSJ hot stories, stuff like this. By the time I get down to breakfast I've seen most of the news I need to see. Who needs newspapers? Save some trees folks... Ban paper for good! Save the planet! iPhone is OK if you ain't got nothing else; don't even think suggesting any freakin' netbooks! I hate those creeps! Like Steve sez, they are good for nothing! But... imagine you wake up with an iPad in your hands! Sheer pleasure! You can almost stay in bed for the rest of the morning!

Finally, 16, 32 or 64GB of solid state storage? What a question, folks! Have you been living under a rock the last 20 years? Guess three times... You're gonna get it right, eventually!