Just got my new iPhone 5

Switching from HTC EVO to iPhone 5 on Sprint.

The phone arrived today, I must admit to being pleasantly surprised, I really didn’t expect to see it until next week some time. I had only ordered it two days ago.

I have to admit to having become somewhat of an Apple fanboy ever since I started using an iPad 2 for work.

The HTC EVO was an OK phone but suffered from a couple of issues:

1) always chronically short of internal RAM with no way to increase it

I don’t have a great number of apps on my phone and I don’t really game at all so I was annoyed that I NEVER had enough room on my HTC phone. I was always using Titanium backup to back up stuff to my SD card and then remove it from active memory. Everything that could be put on the SD card WAS on that card and still I never had more than 60 MB free in RAM which was right on the cusp where it would start complaining to me whenever it was performing updates.

2) The Android required a lot of thought just to use it sensibly:

A proper backup requires rooting the phone and then installing Titanium Backup (best solution IMHO)

No default Tasks application

I always found it challenging to set the notifications reliably <– although this is probably just me

3) The Android was sluggish… all the time.

Say what you want about Apple products, they do know how to make the user experience a pleasing one. Even brand new, with nothing on it my HTC EVO would lag – just a bit – with every swipe. The iPhone almost starts moving before your finger hits the screen. It’s just that responsive. Now my iPad has had its share of crashes and mini freezes – most notably when using the web browser, but my android seemed to spend it’s life with a page half on and half off the screen as it paused doing who knows what.

In the beginning I wanted the Android because it was infinitely customizable (see Tasker if you don’t know how to take full advantage of your android) and it integrated VERY well with Google’s tools – gmail, contacts, maps – all of which I use heavily and – I admit it – I was somewhat of an Apple bigot figuring that only uninformed n00bs would overspend on such boutique gadgets. Ah well, you change with time…

But in the end I finally decided I wanted a device that had been well thought out and could be tweaked *enough* to keep me satisfied but not so much that it would be a fight to do what I wanted with it. My phone has 32  GB available to me so it is unlikely that I’ll manage to consume all that within its lifetime. I have a 4 year old 120 GB iPod classic that serves all my remote music needs so I don’t really need to store a lot of that space consuming stuff on the iPhone – I’ve never really wanted to expend precious cell phone power on listening to music anyway.

 

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on November 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Resolution for: Issue with Garmin and sending addresses from Google Maps

So, in response to my query regarding the fact that you can no longer send map coordinates to a Garmin device from Google maps I received:

Dear Marc Bourassa,
Thank you for contacting Garmin International.
Marc, I will be happy to help you. If you are still getting that error message on the Google map site, then try using Mapquest or Bing mapping and it should go through for you. Have a good day.
With Best Regards,
<name removed>
Product Support Specialist
Garmin Mobile Team
Garmin International

With Bing I couldn’t even figure out how to try to send my GPS coordinates. Mapquest worked – be warned that you will want to edit your GPS favorites once you are done with friendly names unless you are OK finding them by address.

So there’s your fix. I don’t see any indication that they think that their software not working with the only worthwhile web mapping program is an issue.

 

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on July 12, 2012 at 1:42 am

Issue with Garmin and sending addresses from Google Maps

I can see from the forums on Garmin’s website that this has been an issue since at least June 30, 2012.

I’ve opened up a support ticket with them that reads as follows:

Trying to send addresses to Garmin Nuvi from google maps via Chrome. Using latest Garmin plugin (it forced me to upgrade from V3.x to V4.x). On the following garmin page:

http://my.garmin.com/locate/savePOI.htm%3faction=redirect&a_key=c6a2af1c9bee6bfbebd2000da4204779&name=Arbraska+Treetop+Trekking&hl=en&lat=44.549625&long=-79.671978&attribution=&province=ON&country=CA&city=Barrie&street=Horseshoe+Valley+Rd+W&streetnum=1101&postcode=L4M+4Y8&phone=7058357600&source=http%253A%252F%252Fmaps.google.com&notes=?in=true&ni=other

I receive this error:

An HTTP 404 Error has occurred.The page you requested does not exist.

I see from the forums that this has been an issue since at least June 30, 2012.

Can you please direct this issue to the team responsible? There were no reasonable choices on the Garmin support web site and it made me select *something* so I selected this category.

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on July 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

Internet Speed – Are you getting what you pay for?

This past weekend I had a glitch in my Comcast internet service. On Saturday afternoon my internet connection simply died. It was pretty obvious to me that the issue was between my house and Comcast but they assured me there were no issues and that they’d send someone around to look at it… on Monday… in the mid afternoon… because I don’t need to earn a living someplace else…

Anyway, after reading a book and then heading out to a friend’s place for a small party I came back and found my internet connection was miraculously restored. Good thing it was Easter, otherwise surely that miracle would not have occurred.

So I don’t know, and obviously Comcast also doesn’t know or will not admit, what happened but I’m online again. Since I don’t really trust miracles, I ran some speed tests and, as you can see below, the results are typical and all over the map.

Does anybody out there have any idea which tests can be trusted and why?

As you check these out keep in mind that I’m a Comcast internet subscriber. I get nothing else from them so in theory, nothing happening at my place should alter these results (i.e. TV or Phone service through Comcast) and nobody’s in the house as I do this and nothing on my other computers is set up to automatically chew up bandwidth right now.

I pay $70.37 a month – yes they punish me nicely for not bundling – and I’m *supposed* to see 12 Mbps down (actually 15 Mbps with “turboboost” whatever the heck that is) and I’m guessing 4 Mbps up.

Comcast’s own speed test – http://speedtest.comcast.net/ reports 23.15 Mbps down and 4.26 Mbps up

Speakeasy – http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ reports 15.74 Mbps down and 4.15 Mbps up

Speedtest.net – http://www.speedtest.net/ reports 24.62 Mbps down and 4.26 Mbps up

testmy.net – http://testmy.net/ reports 10.9 Mbps down and 3.4 Mbps up

and finally, AT&T’s (Uverse) test  –  http://www.att.com/speedtest/ reports 42.08 Mbps down and 4.09 Mbps up

Overall, for upload speeds I’m at least pretty confident that it’s at about 4 Mbps.

For download speeds, I don’t mind saying that AT&T’s results have always been hysterically optimistic so I discount those results right away.

The remaining results vary between 10.9 and 24.6 Mbps.

If I watch the cute graphics on the flash testers the little speed needle tends to bounce up and down throughout the testing period. The more bouncing, presumably the more latency / drops during the test??

The only test that I, as an end user, really understand is that produced by speedtest.net. Basically they download a file of a certain size, time how long it takes and then give me my speed. This makes me partial to them but the part of my brain that doesn’t want me to be getting screwed by Comcast balks somewhat at paying $70 for below advertised performance.

Anybody out there with experience, knowledge or a reasonably formed opinion as to how trustworthy these speed testing sites and results are?

 

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on April 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm

The iPad “youripadnamehere” cannot be synced. The required disk cannot be found.

My iPad2 (32 GB, WiFi & 3G) is configured to use “iTunes Wi-Fi Sync”.  For the past week, when I get up in the morning I can see on my PC a dialog with the message ‘The iPad “youripadnamehere” cannot be synced. The required disk cannot be found.“. Checking the iPad under Settings > General > iTunes Wi-Fi Sync  confirms that it hasn’t synced in over a week. Initiating a manual sync (pushing the “Sync now” button) yields the “cannot be synced” dialog on my PC.

A quick Google search indicates that this is a fairly common problem for iPhones and the solution seems largely to require you to change USB ports. But I could not see a solution for iPads.

It turns out that the issue arises because I do not recycle my PC regularly – under Windows 7 it simply does not need it anymore and it seems that iTunes becomes somewhat unstable after a few days of running continuously.

The solution? Simply stop iTunes and restart it. Clicking the “Sync Now” button on the iPad now works just fine.

Long term, to ensure that the iPad syncs regularly is presumably to recycle the iTunes app periodically. I’ll likely wait to see the error message again and use that as my cue to perform the recycle.

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on December 30, 2011 at 6:59 am

Tags:

Apple iTunes – AppleMovileDeviceService.exe – excessive CPU consumption

*Updated 2011.11.19*

I have posted a resolution to this issue here.

*End Update*

*Updated 2011.09.05*

I accepted the updater’s offer to upgrade iTunes to 10.4.1.10 and the problem recurred. This time I followed the protocol from this KB article from Apple ( http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1923 ) and quelled the issue again. Next time I’ll do more experimentation with stopping and restarting the Apple Mobile Device Service (AMDS) first to see if the issue is limited to the service itself…

*End Update*

*Updated 2011.08.22*

I ended up having to uninstall iTunes (and “Apple Mobile Device Support” and “Apple Application Support” and “Apple Software Update”) and reinstall iTunes (the rest came along for the reinstall ride) and the CPU issue went away.

*End Update*

I have Apple’s iTunes 10.4.0.80 for Windows installed on my Windows 7 – 64 bit machine.

I’m not exactly sure when it started but I’m pretty sure it’s with either the most recent iTunes update or the most recent Windows update (monthly patches).

My machine has variable speed fans to cool it based on CPU load so I’m sensitive to when the machine is doing something even modestly taxing. Lately the fans have been kicking up a notch regularly while I’m just reading email or some similarly low impact activity. So I see in my Process Explorer that the AppleMovileDeviceService.exe process is consistently chewing up almost exactly 12.5% of my CPU cycles all the time.

Has anybody else encountered this? Do you know of a fix?

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on August 17, 2011 at 9:04 am

Syba SY-KVM20054 1920 x 1200 DVI Video 2-port USB KVM Switch with Wired Remote Port Selector Review

I purchased this KVM after my TRENDnet TK-207K bit the dust after only 6 months of use.

I have to admit that I’m now happy for being forced to change. The TRENDnet was only about $23 from Amazon where this Syba weighed in at closer to $60. This is still a very good price for a fully functioning KVM.

The reasons I am happy are twofold:

The Syba uses native DVI ports so I no longer have to use any converters or VGA cables. I really can’t tell if this has improved the quality of my video performance but I am finding that I have no more issues with my screen resolution being reset on me when I remove and replace my laptop (something that happens frequently as I take it to and from work).

Swapping ports is nearly instant with the Syba where there used to be a lag of several seconds plus a little acknowledgment sound from each computer as the change was made before. I silently swap between machines now with just a click of the Syba remote button or a double-click of my mouse middle button (scroll wheel). Quick, easy, reliable and the settings are remembered.

So far count me very happy with this new Syba KVM.

FYI my setup is:

1 desktop machine (Alienware) with two monitors (Syncmaster 226BW and SyncMaster 2343BWX). I am sharing the Syncmaster 226BW whose native resolution is 1680 x 1050.

1 Dell Lattitude E6410 with a port replicator

Basic 3 Button Alienware optical mouse (USB)

Basic standard Dell keyboard (also USB)

I don’t like using laptop keyboards or the eraserhead or trackpad pointer devices. I’m a mouse and full-sized keyboard kind of guy.

The laptop travels with me to and from work so I can have a consistent platform as my primary workstation.

 

Posted under Opinions, Tech Stuff, Utils / Tools

This post was written by Marc
on June 18, 2011 at 9:04 am