IT world & trends
This is my non technical weblog about the IT world and its trends... Internet, mobility, business, marketing, web, accessibility...
I travelled from Paris to Amsterdam this week... (for a business conference).
I took the Thalys speed train. They offer WiFi on board... supposedly via satellite with fallback to multilink 3G when necessary. The reality is it works only 50% of the time. It especially doesn't work every time the train is stopped in a station with a roof. It's almost a joke. They claim offering internet access at hight speed is a technical challenge... yeah well... I almost believed that until I set up my iPhone for tethering and got a better connection through my phone than through the train's WiFi. It costs some data fees, but on the other hand, I don't have to go through the annoying WiFi login screens.
I then stayed at the Okura Hotel in Amsterdam (I didn't really chose it, it just happened to the the "official" hotel for the conference). I could list tons of reasons why this hotel doesn't deserve its 5 stars. One of them is they offer 2 star WiFi connection they still call "HiSpeed" and charge an extra 12 ?/day for. Annoying log in screens, over and over and over again, on every device, every hour... and then it would stop working at random times. Here again I reverted to 3G tethering.
The only time when WiFi actually worked fine was in the Amsterdam Centraalstation lounge, where I waited for my train on the way back. Good old WEP/WPA password and you're in, full speed! That were my only 30 minutes of high speed internet during the whole trip.
Globally I'm pretty disappointed. During my previous trip to switzerland I actually found decent WiFi almost everywhere...
I so can't wait for the time when mobile operators will be able to join together and offer a global worldwide data plan, so we can just stay on our 3G/4G and stop having to hunt down for WiFi networks and passwords and suffer awful login screens filled with ads all the time.
Also, why can't Orange, who has presence in God knows how many European countries do this for Europe right now?
I’ve been explaining this to people over and over again and I reached the point where I just want to point them to a web page to read through before we can talk some more about it :p
So here it is, in a nutshell, the whole deal about Google and Facebook competing to hire the best engineers and develop the ultimate social network. This is also the deal about Google Buzz, Google Wave and Google whatever other products they pimp these days… including personalized search and maps.
What Facebook and Google want, is to get as much personal information as they can to better profile you as a consumer.
Ideally, they’ll try to do that by looking good. For example: they don’t really push you to volunteer info about your age, place of residence, etc. Instead they merely let you share your thoughts about getting married, or going on vacation, or buying a new car, or considering a new diet, or what not with your friends… but don’t kid yourself, all these status updates, they are basically strings of very meaningful keywords… and they are being analyzed! Right Now!
Things on the Mac is my favorite GTD style to-do list manager. Their major drawback though, was lack of decent sync between multiple devices.
Well, they finally acknowledged the issue and promise cloud based sync to be available in a few months.
In the meantime, I move the Things DB to dropbox (launch the app while holding down the ALT key to do this). This at least lets me open the DB from different computers. But it can’t handle concurrent edits, so be careful what you do! :p
Regarding iPhone & iPad, you gotta manually launch the app over & over again while on the same WiFi network for your stuff to sync… can’t wait for this to end!!
I was at a conference in Amsterdam last week and although we don’t have the iPads in Europe yey, I had the opportunity to play for 15 minutes with an iPad brought by a US attendee.
My first impression was: it’s really nicely designed, extremely intuitive and responsive. I gotta get one. I also loved the little switch to lock the orientation. Super useful for reading while lying on your side in bed! (Unlike on the iPhone)
However, after a few minutes I started to realize that a) I don’t quite know how to hold that thing (whether with or without the Apple carrying case) and b) it’s getting damn heavy if you hold it in your hand. Those impression were shared by the owner as well as the other people who played with it.
I believe this is going to limit how much you actually want to use that device in different situations. I think it’s actually very impractical to use when you don’t sit down. Also, I believe Apple should actually drop the stupid glass screens: they’re heavy and the glare is just annoying!
Anyways, until then it looks like the Apple product segmentation goes like this:
- If you’re standing, use your iPhone
- If you’re sitting in an armchair, couch or other laid back situation, use your iPad
- If you’re sitting at a table, use your MacBook
- If you’re sitting at your workdesk, use your iMac or Mac Pro
Ah yes, also:
- If you want to watch something on your TV, use your Apple TV or better yet: Mac Mini.
There’s 2 problems to mouse speed:
- The acceleration curve of the mouse mouvement which I’ve talked about before
- maximum mouvement speed
The maximum speed can be set through the System preferences panel, but even when the slider is all the way to the right, the speed may be too slow… especially if you line up 3 monitors side by side.
You can get faster speeds through the Applications > Utilities > Terminal. To see the current setting, type in this:
defaults read -g com.apple.mouse.scaling
To make the mouse faster, set a different value, for example:
defaults write -g com.apple.mouse.scaling 6
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