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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Kein neuer PC mehr

Update 15.01.11 > früher als Erwartet sind z.B. bei Digitec schon alle CPUs und Motherboards lieferbar, siehe auch den entsprechenden Einkaufstipp.

Die nächsten drei Monate würde ich keinen neuen PC kaufen. Grund: Intel wird im Januar die Nachfolge-Prozessoren der aktuellen Core-i5 und Core-i7 CPUs vorstellen (Sockel 1155). Die neuen CPUs basieren auf dem Kern der Sandy-Bridge Linie. Neben dem höheren Takt dünkt mich AVX und der niedrige Stromverbrauch (leise Kühlung) nennenswert.
Mir geht's immer darum, nicht zum Schluss einer Produktegeneration noch neu einzusteigen, denn meistens bereut man das später. Bei Version 1.0 zu starten ist in der Regel auch schlecht, aber bei Intel riskiert man seit vier Jahren wenig.

my core i5 750

Bekanntlich entwickelt auch Intel ihre Produkte seit Jahren in einem Tick-Tock Zyklus > Tick heisst bestehende Technologie wird verbessert und "ge-shrinked" (shrinking bedeutet praktisch immer, höhere Taktraten bei niedrigerem Stromverbrauch) - Tock heisst: neue Generation, neue Funktionen. Im Januar ist Tock dran;  man darf von einem extrem ausgereiften Produkt ausgehen, da praktisch alle Desktop Intel-CPUs seit Nehalem so gut wie keine Schwächen aufweisen. Hoffen wir, dass die verbreiteten Compiler rasch nachziehen, sonst macht AVX wenig Sinn.
übrigens: Nvidia hat vor zwei Monaten mit der GF110 (gtx580) ihren "Tick" released und so den misratenen "Tock" GF100 (gtx480/gtx470) ausgebügelt - das Die wurde allerdings nicht ge-shrinkt.

source: canardpc

Auch ein Intel-Chipsatz der Generation 6 kündigt sich an, so dass mir ab Februar/März folgende Konfiguration für Power-User sinnvoll scheint:

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500 - 4 Kerne - 3,3 / 3,7 GHZ - 6 MB Cache- 95W tdp - kein HT
MB: Asus P8P67 (Intel Generation 6 Chipsatz, leider ohne native USB3)
Ram: 4 GB > niemand von euch braucht mehr...
GPU: Nvidia GTX 570 / GTX 560 Auch dieses Teil wird erst noch angekündigt werden.
SSD ja/nein? Speed ist super, aber Preis/Leistung ist für mich noch nicht im grünen Bereich.

> statt einer SSD lieber eine zweite 2 TB-Platte um ein einigermassen anständiges Backup zu erstellen.

(image source: Malaysia)

Mit einer solchen Konfig hat man die nächsten 3 bis 4 Jahre mehr als genug Performance! Alle Apps werden zügig laufen, praktisch alle Spiele werden bis 1920x1200 mit max. Details flüssig bleiben, Einschaltzeit aus dem extrem sparsamen S3 Standby Modus beträgt 5 Sekunden UND vor allem wird das Teil leise kühlbar sein.
Dann? Mitte 2012 eine SSD einbauen und alles wird einen Schluck besser. Anfang 2013 steht dann Haswell in den Startlöchern: 8 Kerne Default, 22nm, neue Energiespartechniken, UEFI und und und

Friday, December 03, 2010

Spectacular Life Form

So many know so little... it's absolutely shocking. That's what I'd often think when it comes to religious discussion about the where and why.

Science does not invent new technology and laws of nature... it just discovers and visualizes what's driven us since the very beginning. We still don't know much - but we know much more than 100yrs ago. And we will come to understand a lot more in 100yrs from now.

In case you haven't noticed: a healthy personality is mainly driven by love, passion and honesty
whereas religion often leads to blindness and vicious activities.

Do you know why water at 84°C freezes faster than water that is 5°C? you don't. Currently nobody understands that. Water has many more anomalies, than the usual 4 you might have heard of in school.

Seen from the third planet in our solar system? Why the heck is the moon diameter exactly the same as the sun's ? have you ever wondered? This might not have any impact on life (yet) - but will eventually roll up how we function.

So much is yet to be discovered. Diligence and modesty help.
Try to get a hold of today's extreme news:
Spectacular Life Form - nytimes

oder auf Deutsch:
Spektakuläre Lebensform - Spiegel.de

What was it again? Why could we double life expectancy in the last 100 yrs?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Android browser allows data theft

Extreme news arrived yesterday... to my surprise all big international Android sites haven't reported it yet.

A simple link allows an attacker to steal user data from your Android phone!
Thomas Cannon discovered this and explains here

I got the news here:
Android vulnerability permits data theft on heise.de

und die deutsche Version dazu:
Android-Lücke ermöglicht Datenklau

Brief comment:
Compared to the whole rest of bugs and problems I consider this a severe flaw since most of us use the good and slim default browser. No rooting no dialog box, nothing but an URL is needed to make this work. This will not become widespread but provides an excellent example how all devices can be tricked by consequently accessing it's "features"
We'll all track, how Android providers handle this problem. No paranoia please, my next few phones will feature Android for sure, seeing how thin the membrane protecting personal data can become (for a limited time) is impressive though.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chile Miracle - 33 again

Wonderful News today! This post just serves as a diary entry for me and my kids. Let's always remember, what good can be done by each and everyone together.

Saw the rescue of the 2nd guy live. Then a few others and now the last one. It's 3am over here. Stevie can't sleep either - it's a family thing I guess. She's sitting here in my lap while I write this lol.

 und zur gleichen Zeit auf tagi online (hehe).
die sind schon im Näscht ?! NZZ Berichterstattung hat schon
nach dem 17. geretteten Kumpel schlapp gemacht.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Google TV and Logitech Revue

I'm looking forward to the merger of TV and internet for a while now. While current solutions just provide a faint display of possibilities, Google TV seems to head in the right direction.

Finally the marketing campaigns for Google TV and Logitech Revue have been launched. Below I added some links to give you a jump start into the topic.

I'm sure that "3D" won't have a big impact on TV for the next two to three years, because the technology still isn't mature (lots of flickering) and there's simply no 3D content available! At this moment only three 3D Blue Ray movies are sold in Germany/Switzerland - and hardware prices are still very high. 3D is fun at the movies and that's where we will consume that form of motion picture in the coming days.

But there's a lot of media available on the internet already! I care much much more about accessing media on the net and most of it is free of charge.
We all know that YouTube is muuuch better than MTV for music and that our kids love video search results from "Tom and Jerry" or "Mister Bean Animated" > it all plays without commercial breaks, episodes you don't like can be skipped with one click.
We already watch a lot of YouTube on our Sony Bravia TVs and it works surprisingly well (KDL-40EX710). But I miss a keyboard, YouTube HD support and a normal web browser ... and that's where the new products will hopefully jump in. And nope, our excellent WD TV Live can't fill the gap. More about that later.

Google TV - Quick Tour
Logitech Revue - explained on the US site $300
Google TV hands on video, also showing controls through iphone / android app
Logitech Revue getting mixed reviews

Mixed Reviews? Yes the market is getting crowded but come on, apple tv? Apple is evil! Nope I won't explain myself. It's not really the Logitech Revue I'm looking forward to, but Google TV instead. I think the concept points to the right direction, so let's keep track with the coming product announcements. That's all we Europeans can do for now :-)
BTW: a Filet-O-Fish costs $5.50 where I live, so we ain't no penny pinchers.

BTW > the device is driven by a Intel Atom CE4100, supports wireless 802.11a/b/g/n, ethernet 10/100 Base-T and uses Logitech Unifying wireless technology
(image source: logitech en-us press)

And what's about Sony's version of Google TV? They'll release a TV and a Blu-Ray Ray Player with built-in processors and RAM. Check out their site for some impressions



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Android HTC Desire better user interface

*** this article is outdated - new version May 2012 here ***

BTW: you can make your phone look better and add functionality to the homescreen without even rooting the device. Below you see how I set up my phone these days.
The lower dock is scrollable with a swipe, so you can add a total of 15 fully customizable actions (actually even more if you use the "swipe gesture action")

wallpaper credits: tamilia orb vector
more wallpapers here and more inspiration at XDA dev


Exchange ActiveSync on Android phones - Desire Froyo

Loads of Android users around the globe have been waiting for a matured support of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync security policies.

The good news: since Android 2.2 aka Froyo MS Exchange syncing works exactly as desired! I just created some screenshots to give you an idea how Exchange support was implemented into Android. Let's hope your HTC Android, Samsung Magic, Xperia X10 etc. will get a Froyo update soon.

First the exchange setup. Honestly... it can't get any easier than that, the setup process works the same way as on every other phone supporting MS Exchange: your administrator has to provide nothing more than the name of the server you need to connect to and add your user-id to the designated active directory group.

Go into settings > "accounts & sync" - add Exchange ActiveSync
You will be prompted for the server name, your user-id,
domain name, email address and password. Done.

before syncing for the first time you'll have to accept
the security policies activated by the Exchange Administrators
the screenshot gives you an idea

you can setup the update schedule quite precisely
(peak time start and end, sync frequency)
our administrator set the password retry limit to 10 see top of screenshot
the 11th wrong try will trigger the process "erase all data"

most important: the integration into the android calendar
and email is absolutely seemless! This is also true for the reminders.

...you get the idea!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Logitech G700 Mouse announced

Some of you know that I'm using a Performance MX Mouse almost a year now. It's close to perfect - really.
Today Logitech announced the tuned up version G700 > comes with 13 customizable buttons instead of just 9 and with higher transfer/report frequency. While I can't care less about the (nonsense) features specifically designed for gamers? I'm often in need for many mouse buttons while working series of hundreds of pictures in Photoshop.

[Update Aug 2011: just bought a G700. While the design and the driver's usability are perfect, I dislike that on the side we're dealing with a hard, cheap feeling, rough plastic, where the Performance MX offers a much higher perceived value by it's soft and slightly 'rubberish' shell.
Everybody intending to use the included USB cable should be aware, that it's relatively rigid. Pleasant surprise: tilting the mouse wheel left an right triggers a clean click - better than the analogue sampling introduced with the Performance MX. btw you can also run the mouse without having the battery inserted, so it's cord vs. weight  /end]

under exposed to give you an idea of the rough surface

Have a look at the pictures, the mouse looks really good and the buttons are placed where I love it. That's the main reason for me to report the mouse. Maybe I'll get one for my kids? For their Photoshop course I mean - lol

(image source: logitech.com)

Remember: in the normal consumer Logitech products you can only assign custom key functions to all buttons by using uberoptions (or manually tweaking the xml files), whereas in the gamer products such as this G700 you can assign custom functions to more and every button right out of the box.
In the driver you can create as many button profile sets as you like, three of them are stored in the mouse itself.
The pictures explain it all:

Logitech G700 & Performance MX

Specs taken from their site:
- 13 customizable buttons
- 200 - 5700 dpi
- dpi can be changed in 5 steps, you can freely assign a value per step
- report rate or polling rate: up to 1000 Hz (steps are: 125, 200, 250, 333, 500, 1000)
- weight 145 g (reports also state 151g), 128g if you run it without the battery
- only one AA battery max, eNiTime 1.2V, 2000mAh
- no customizable weights

Reviews and pictures:
engadget.com (pics)

Monday, August 02, 2010

HTC Desire Froyo Update Android 2.2

On July 21 HTC released the official Android 2.2 aka Froyo update for the HTC Desire. The Update is delivered to you over the air (FOTA). Go to settings / system software updates / and hit "check now" if you want to get it right away.

In no particular order, here's a quick overview of some of the new functions that have been added:

Adobe flash 10.1 showcase now downloadable in the android store
...works fabulously! Even a flashheavy site like okaydave.com works

HTC: new FM Radio widget, new color
Now with real RDS support - wow didn't expect that

voice recognition searches now actually work
with the same tool? hey even voice dialing works fine

HTC: new flashlight using the photo LED - but I think flashlight apps to make the main display shine in bright white are more useful

HTC: added 720p video recording mode
HTC: camera options now also displayed portrait style
(click here for Desire 720p test video)

"recent apps" now showing 8 apps, new design

Wifi Hotspot functionality

Thai and other Asian fonts added, Chinese Input added
they all render in the browser as well as in all apps

  • HTC: easier keyboard language switch through added key
  • new texting dialog makes it much easier to attach files (mms)
  • HTC: new "App share" application
  • HTC: is the calculator widget also new?
  • browser can now display animated GIF
  • browser now supports file upload
  • HTC: powering off phone now delivers better feedback (vibrating)
  • much better MS Exchange ActiveSync security policies support (auto-discovery, GAL look-up, calendar synchronization, remote wipe)
  • better browser performance
  • some apps can now be installed/moved to SD-Card
  • new Android Market widget
  • screen can now also be rotated to the right
  • Android Market now offers the option "update all"
  • THE BAD: all of a sudden google search history was activated automatically

    >> full list of new features at android developers

New Version Details:
Android version 2.2
Baseband version
Kernel version / htc-kernel@and18-2 #1
Build number 2.09.405.8 CL218634 release-keys
Software number 2.09.405.8
Browser version WebKit 3.1

Friday, July 16, 2010

Download YouTube HQ22 HQ37 HQ38

08.Mar 2015 important information!
Download Helper 4.x is no longer working with Firefox since its version 36! Download Helper 5 ist still being developed - you can read about it here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/video-downloadhelper-5  Currently I'm trying the Beta http://www.downloadhelper.net/install-beta.php?version=5.0.0b1

- - - - - - - - - -

I often download a YouTube video ...  to extract a soundtrack and save it as mp3 or to save a short film for offline viewing, so the kids can watch stuff in the train and so on.
There are many documented methods out there but still some people aren't aware, that all web videos actually can be saved. I use three different tools to get the best results:
  • the Firefox Add-On Download Helper  or use keepvid.com (no add-on needed 08. Mar 2015)
  • and Handbrake to convert the videos to the size and format that best suits my needs
  • AudioCoder for all audio related tasks with full control (aka Mediacoder Audio Edition)

Before you start grabbing videos you need to know just one important thing:
>> YouTube offers most videos in different resolutions

Let me give you an example: If you're an audiophile type, then you certainly want to know that higher quality streams also offer better audio encoding. It might be essential to the music grabber to understand the different quality levels available, since Download Helper offers you to choose the desired encoding and size level. If you haven't heard about that, you gonna end up with lower quality than expected.

[Update 03. Aug 2014]  >  Important: A lot of time has passed since I wrote this up in 2010. Meanwhile all cell phones and portable devices became real media powerhouses. 90% of the readers can stop reading here because you will be perfectly happy, if you just get download Helper for Firefox and always grab the HQ22 / 720p  youtube video stream or use keepvid.com (no add-on needed 08. Mar 2015) . You then have a clean MP4 video with good resolution and decent file size which will suit almost all your needs. Just trust me on this. [/end]

This list gives you an overview of common YouTube formats
(for a complete listing check the wikipedia link below)

Audio (quality)
video bit rate

add &fmt=18 to url

44.1 kHz stereo AAC 102kps

44.1 khz stereo
AAC LC 128kps
~730kbps @30fps

QCIF Mobile


nov, 2009

( was 4096x 2304)
also 2048x1152
AVC1 high @L5.0
44.1kHz stereo AAC 151Kbps /VBR)
4k  or  4096p or “original”
or 2k, 2160p (old 2048p)
4k ~???
2k ~1570 kbps @30fps

DASH video streams:

[discontinued formats are greyed out]

25.05.2014: Since November 2013 HQ37 / 1080p streams can't be easily saved anymore. YouTube began using the protocol DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) to stream 1080p videos. Current YouTube download programs can't handle DASH.  Dash or mpeg-dash are breaking the content into a sequence of small HTTP-based file segments, conventional web servers can then send those segments.
To download 1080p youtube DASH streams try the firefox addon Easy Youtube Video Download Expess - works fine for me. Not as comfortable as download helper but it just works.
Or use keepvid.com to grab 4k video streams, no audio though (no add-on needed).

(04 Aug 2014 update forget the add wares I mentioned in May - although Freemake is the only known option to me for downloading 4k Videos from youtube)  MassTube - adware alert! - adfree version @Softpedia works fine for me. Also the AdWare Freemake works - MAKE SURE you don't use express installations! I've warned you.

05.02.2014: interestingly some of my format observations differ from the table at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouTube

In some cases you then want to convert the downloaded stuff:
>> Handbrake is very easy to use and delivers fantastic results.
  • Open the video you want to convert (the source video)
  • choose one of the predefined profiles
  • edit the settings (resolution) to your likings
  • choose the destination for the converted file
  • go!

Looking for an easy way to create MP3 Files from the grabbed video? Usually it takes only two to three clicks to extract the sound. I suggest using AudioCoder. (Beacause of LAME.exe problems and drag&drop you should download the 32bit version only.) I convert because I prefer how perfectly mp3 is treated by all devices out there - I'm talking about skipping tracks, embedding cover art, embedding meta data etc.
You lose a bit of quality while converting AAC to let's say mp3 "cbr 164kb/s" because both are lossy compression formats but I couldn't care less about that, while being in a crowded airport or a TGV...   phreaks just shouldn't convert.

[09.08.2011 - please note, that I'm checking on alternatives to MediaCoder products because - they violate GPL for not properly informing about the ffmpeg licence, not to mention the absence of source code providing since 2008. Chinese product - open source first - closed source since 2008? It's wrong. BTW Same problem with Freemake - with freemake I'm even more sceptic because they hide all their intentions and sources.]

>>  If you want to deal with the original AAC audio stream only,  you might want to try the small tool Yamb >> developer site, "editing" / "extract streams"to split/demux the AAC audio stream from the video stream.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Nvidia GTX 460 released

    Finally the Nvidia DX11 product we've been waiting for has arrived. Placed at the $200 limit (digitec CHF 230.-) and with very low idle power consumption.

    - decent performance
    - very quiet
    - very cheap! (768MB version, FPS per $ already at first day of release)

    Read techpowerup's conclusion for an overview. If you want a really quiet GTX 460 then make sure that you'll get yourself Nvidia's reference board design!

    You might also want to check out the benchmarks at Anandtech. While I tend to disagree with their rather pessimistic conclusion (768 vs. 1024 MB), it's still a good thing to check out figures from a different source.

    Update Sep/2010: GTX 460 and GTS 450 With the release of driver 260.63 the audio formats DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD can now be transmitted through HDMI (compressed). With every driver release functions are being added. While you don't need most of the new features you're certainly interested in the game's performance gain (5 to 15%), so keep the drivers up to date regularly.

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    HTC Desire review

    It all began with the SE t39 - then through the last 9 years I owned Sony Ericsson cell phones only, product design and ease of use were always superb. Everyone I introduced to the brand was surprised by its usability and photo quality. Finally time has come to try something new.
    With the release of Android 2.1 I decided go for an Android Phone.

    Update: Android 2.2 / Froyo update? is available since July 31st. Adding Video 720p recording and all 2.2 features! cool thing. and yes! also Thai font support ;-)

    I chose the HTC Desire: the specs are impressive and very important to me, it comes with a FM radio receiver whereas the great looking SE Xperia X10 doesn't. The phone is slim, looks good and has a fantastic screen and a headphone jack - I won't write anything else about the hardware, because hey: it's just good and it's all there.

    So? I'm totally amazed how very complete this device is! Never did my Android mates tell me about the extreme freedom of use ... simply because they were not really exploring it's capabilities. I also love the concept that (thanks to linux' good memory handling) most Android Apps stay open and available much longer than on other phone OSes - jumping back into a previous task is very practical! Feels like true multitasking.

    There are many lengthy HTC Desire reviews (one more) posted everywhere, but they are about facts and technical issues. I prefer to give you a glimpse at why I think I'm currently using one of the best cell phone there is. More pictures, less text.

    First of all the home screens > true eye catchers
    7 screens, center one see above
    totally customizable - fully animated wallpaper available

    Drag around the widgets, add whatever you like...
    download animated wallpapers, everything for free

    Get apps and widgets in the Android Market and elsewhere (google),
    still not so much around, this will change with time.

    What are apps? Who needs such a crap?
    In the screenshots you see, how the app FREEdi YouTube Download Helper
    saves a music video as mp3, after that you trim it with the default music player,
    then set it as a ringtone - all done with just a few 'clicks'
    (now go on searching for your iphone custom ringtone tutorial)

    Besides games, there are all sort of apps out there, mainly they
    process information to suit the small display and become finger friendly.
    some examples:
    Astro File Manager or AndroZip File Manager (adding zip support)
    toppreise.ch - quick settings - soccer app - zebra paint

    Writing email, texting and mms, copy & paste goes very very easily,
    keep the key pressed to access the special characters.
    Word suggestion works almost flawlessly!
    MS Exchange Users attention! No full exchange profiles support in Android 2.1!
    (certificate handling is special > read why > then how to import)
    update: click here to see how ActiveSync works on Desire with Android 2.2

    No surprises when it comes to calling functions and using address book.
    There's an annoying bug when syncing with google contacts though,
    all your contact pictures get shrunk to something like 60x60 pixels.
    We hope this gets fixed soon.

    Now! browsing and playing back media works much better than I dared to imagine:
    (I use mp3tag to add cover art)

    Look at the phenomenal video resolution - one will hardly believe when seen live
    on the HTC Desire's screen: 800 x 480 - zero judder.
    (convert all movies flv, divx, xvid, mp4, mkv with handbrake)

    Internet browsing works great too, the high display resolution
    turns out to add positively to the reading experience , fonts are very smooth.
    The flash and html5 discussions are useless, in 2012 all devices out there
    will render html5, but in 2010? Many sites still use flash
    and the Desire renders it quite acceptable!
    That's because HTC installed a beta version of flash 10.1 (flash lite plugin).

    The integrated youtube app now offers HQ mode, compare the screenshots.
    While there are better youtube apps available out there,
    this still proves to be practical enough.

    Last but least - two things I like very much about this phone:
    there's a minimal fm tuner available, works as desired (RDS only with 2.2),
    plus the notifications in the top left corner are very practical in everyday use.
    Dragging down the notification window is very smooth, allows direct jump to app.

    • Openness! the Android experience is nothing short of fantastic
    • the phone is very cheap
      (toppreise.ch CHF 550.- / €420  / iphone4 no sim-lock CHF 900.- / €645)
    • superb connectivity and media experience
    • looks and usability of home screens can be tweaked to please every taste
    • great display with multitouch (but amoled displays become rare!)
    • GPS, motion sensors and so on - all common 2010 functions included
    • fair: 5mp camera has fast autofocus and LED flash
    • Android 2.2 aka Froyo will come to the phone soon and add:
      better MS Exchange security profiles support, WiFi access point functionality,
      mobile flash 10.1 support

    So what's the downside to all this greatness?
    • no xenon flash
    • no thai fonts solved
    • no 720p video recording solved
    • no hdmi out
    • battery life is limited
      max 3 days very low use, 1 day when everything is used to the max
    • no Skype support yet Skype is available since 5 October 2010
    • the speaker is medicore
    • no voice dialing solved
    • because of its success > always sold out! (Better since SLCDs were introduced)

    I very believe that over time much less iphones will be sold. while the hardware and the connection to itunes apply to most? I think apples money leaching and anti flash practices will bring themselves to a halt soon.
    Android? While connection to pc software will never be as tight, the whole package is more flexible. The hardware already surpassed the iphone for half the price. Also check out the specs of this impressive Motorola announcement. Intel is also readying an Android core for x86 hardware, which will add to the spreading...

    good vid from phonearena: