First impressions of owning an iphone

I finally jumped the gun and got my 8G iphone. Discovering that the firmware was newer than the unlocking hacks software supported at the moment, I ditched that idea and just went with AT&T’s 480 minute 2-year plan – about twice as expensive as I would have gotten from t-mobile (vodaphone should keep sueing apple for that one), but I was able to work with it right away.

I installed itunes on my windows-xp machine and was suprised how slow this application is – probably only optimized for macos-x ? Definitely a very painful experience, what should have taken me 15 minutes to do (sync with my mp3 folder from my notebook) turned out to become a 45m bitching contest. But now it works for the most part.

Impressions:

1. happy to have an ipod function. surprise in the car: the headphonejack is proprietary, I was not able to connect it to my cars line-in cable, probably have to purchase an overpriced original apple cable for that… grrrr…

2. imap / outlook setup failed…

3. yahoo email setup was a breeze and works really well

4. that keyboard touchscreen thing really sucks – compared to a treo

5. it has GPS through google maps and gives directions. wow.

6. safari can do multiple webpages (tabs) but forgets the content too soon – it would be really useful if it would not have to reload the tab just because I looked at two others while it was loading in the background.

7. itunes on windows-xp is slower than any other app I am running – think openoffice startup-time, but at runtime. aweful.

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Discovering WordPress

Today I decided to try out wordpress – I have been reading blogs for a while and found that I express some of my ideas and thoughts in all those disparate web 2.0 / social networking style entities: yelp, flickr, linkedin, studivz (german equivalent of facebook/myspace), …

So here are my two main concerns

1. ‘personality striptease’ ?

These websites tend to make you publish too much personal information. In particular facebook/studivz are ‘greedy’ for any bit of personal info since they aim to monetize it by targeted advertisement.

One way to address this is to have multiple identities, a professional one, a private-public one, a private-friends one, and ideally they are under pseudonyms with minimal overlap in published content to make it hard to identify them… Of course this makes the second point even worse:

2. manageability

I have to keep all those accounts and passwords straight – wouldn’t it be nice if we had a strong central authentification mechanism?

Since flickr is part of yahoo I liked the fact that I did not have to keep a separate identity for my email and my photos since they now are under the umbrella of the same provider – thats great. But cross-provider would be even better, albeit more dangerous…

facebook and the like try to offer this, to consolidate different social networking providers into one view – while I think that is great for the owner of the view, it is undesireable to publish the joined view to the public or greedy data collectors.

So here I come, creating yet another username account, and linking together at least three presences: wordpress, flickr, yahoo email. Lets see how it goes… – WordPress has something called OpenId that seems to do what I want, but none of the sites I currently use are listed on their https://www.myopenid.com/directory

validating html – firefox mangles html when saving?

I am developing a small internal webservice and being a good netcitizen wanted to validate it to be up to standards with http://validator.w3.org/ which is my favorite tool since it allows to enter a URL if the page is on the public network, and it allows uploading html for when its not. It is an excellent tool to verify that the XHTML created by your code does not just happen to look right in your browser but actually conforms to the XHTML standard.

So quickly hitting Ctrl-S to save the web-page into a file from my web browser Fedora/2.0.0.10-3.fc8 Firefox/2.0.0.10 and uploading it for validation I am running into all those validation errors – i.e. the meta tag is not closed. Double checking my code it should be closed, as I used it as a singleton? Quickly bringing up the source view window of the page within firefox shows that it is indeed closed, but the saved html looks different from what the source window shows.

One of those surprises – now I cut and paste from the source window into an editor instead of using ‘save page’…

Update:  https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=120556 seems to be related, so the mangling only happens when the filename ends in .html but it does not happen when the filename ends in .xhtml, regardless of the type-content defined in the meta-section of the header.

iPhone ? Astounding features, but even more astounding deficiencies

I have had a treo with goodstuff for a few years and have gotten used to constant access to email, reading http://www.heise.de while riding the train, and synchronization with the company calendar keeping appointments straight in realtime. Navigating it with the touch-screen is great, too. Keeping documents on the small SD card allows to bring just what I need.

I also grew to dislike it’s slow internet (edge), the many crashes (reboots), and am thinking about trying something new.

The iPhone seems very impressive, love the zooming and rotating on the display, wifi access that allows faster access when at home or at work – except for some astounding deficiencies that where still not addressed in this months software update:

1. no cut and paste – I use that a lot when emailing people tidbits of what I find on the web or on mailinglist postings

2. no search in the contacts directory – they do have an index for the first letters but if you are looking for a substring you are in for a lot of scrolling…

3. no ‘goodstuff’ equivalent of the treo – you have to go home and connect it with a cable to syncronize ?

4. camera is not very light sensitive, picture quality below industry standard

5. AT&T exclusive contract for the next 5 years, which means no competition on the phone provider side. Thats the only reason why they can force you into signing up for a slow edge network data plan at the high prices they offer…

6. no SD slot or other way to extend the memory

I kind of waited for the software update to at least address 1-3, but since that did not happen I am now looking for alternatives.

Any recommendations?

Nokia 95?

Blackberry Perl?