[en] Weather Bug review [BlackBerry/tech-head/GSM]

18 iunie 2009
Each time I want a program able to do something, I can’t find it. Then, after I realize I have a Blackberry in my hands (you know, not a ton of programs available) and I forget all about that, I find it.
And I’m asking for the simpler things in life: like a weather program. We all know the weather’s really unpredictable and that even the ones in the business make mistakes most of the times. But I still need a program to tell me how the weather’s gonna be (forecast) rather about how it is at the moment-I can see; I look up and see it’s hot or it’s raining.
Unfortunately, there are only a handful of BlackBerry weather programs available and only a few available in Romania (not so many users I think!). This example is about numbers: a top 5. That’s all. Only five apps to be considered for one of the best professional  mobile platforms in the world; it’s like businessmen or Berry -addicts do not need or care about the weather. Or you need to be a businessman to afford one of the good apps. But some things in life are free and very good.
Let’s take Weather Bug for example: it belongs to a big company, AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. . The Smart People running this company decided that it would be better to invest in developing a nice app for BlackBerry, rather that spending a great deal of $ on publicity. And the program works! It’s free, the UI is simple and functional and the information is plentiful.The app is fast, intuitive and it won’t Stay on all the time eating your RAM.
As above, there is an icon on the homescreen refreshing at a rate between 15 minutes and 4 hours. There is also a "manual" updating mode and a choice in which you can have additional info like "hi/low temperature"or none.
As seen above, the application has a wide variety of features including a video and camera view, a map pin-point ( Google Maps ), locations, where you input all the cities of interest, a five days forecast and the daily conditions. The help file is also rich, you can directly visit the dedicated forum or email the developers. Another interesting and very useful feature is the "share button", which opens up the e-mail client. You can send a screenshot (done automatically when using the feature) by email. Nifty!
As you can see, the program’s add supported but the banner is very small and unintrusive. Talking about friendly UI: by positioning the cursor over the city name it will allow you to flick quickly thru the cities rolling your trackball left or right.
As for the details involved, you get a forecast for the day, the minimum dew point, speed and wind-temperature, humidity and the most important, "feels like" temperature.
As for functionality, the apps’ right most of the times. If you take into consideration I’m half-way across the globe, I’m ok with it when it’s not accurate. But hey, this happens when you talk about the weather.
You can get it here – also avalable for Android and Iphone.

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[en] Is there a Heaven for free GPS trackers? [tech/GSM/GPS/BlackBerry]

12 mai 2009
I was complaining here that the support for GPSed.com’s GPS tracker sucks. I still think that; I sent them an e-mail complaining about the problems I had while uploading the tracks (lots of features but the main one doesn’t work properly,recording only partial routes!) and they’ve replied after 4 days:
 "—– Original Message —–
From: SHAPE Support Team <
To: xxx
@gmail.com, SHAPE Support Team <support@shapeservices.com>
Sent: 25.04.2009 15:18
Subject: Re: Problem with uploaded tracks on gpsed.com
< Hello,
< Please accept our apologies for the problem.
< I have forwarded your track to our developers for further investigation.
< We’ll inform you about the result as soon as possible.
< Thank you for your patience!
< Best regards,"
 Meaning nothing, of course. Oh, yes, they took me into consideration but do one needs 4 days for that? They say they need to contact the developer. But why not providing a direct link to the developer, doesn’t the developer has an e-mail address?!
More laughs today:
"SHAPE Support Team to me
show details 10:49 AM (1 hour ago) Reply
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Our developers have detected the problem and
now they are working on fixing of it.
Please keep an eye on our updates.
Best regards,
Alexandra Lyubchenko
SHAPE Support Team
SHAPE Services"
18 days later, they’ve finally detected the issue and they are working on fixing it! Come on! Really. I KNOW it’s a free service, but you need competence when running a SERVICE. Or so it seems, a service. Up until now it’s just a shadow of what it should be.
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[en] Yet another InstaMapper GPS tracker upload [tech/GPS/GSM/BlackBerry]

11 mai 2009
Just a quick upload with yet another InstaMapper track; this one‘s more detailed. This time I’ve used a 142 seconds pause between location updates for battery’ sake. The device goes to "sleep" between transmissions, which is a good thing (15%-20% of battery life in 3 hours is a good score for a GPS enabled device) but the result is quite inaccurate, and I’m pretty sure the calculations are done based on pinpoints. This means there is a half an hour period which wasn’t recorded (I stopped by for a visit but I was outside all the time) and the road isn’t followed exactly due to long pauses between pin-pointing.
But, hey, it’s nice for general purposes and if you get a car charger, then you can set it to transmit every 5 seconds or so; then, the result is bulls-eye!
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[ro] Noi metode de spam! [Romanik]

10 mai 2009

Primesc un mesaj publicitar de la blt.ro. Nu stiu cine sunt,n-am cumparat vreodatabilete de la ei, insa ma infurie nesimtirea de care dau dovada;pe zi ce trece, gasesc noi metode de eludare a legii, iar de data asta pe o parte ma calca pe nervi, pe de alta parte izbucnesc in ras.

Asa-i mesajul: "Primiti acest mesaj in urma abonarii dvs pe site-ul nostru sau printr-un site partener. Daca nu mai doriti sa primiti mesaje de la noi sau considerati ca abonarea dvs s-a produs din greseala, va rugam sa acceptati scuzele noastre pentru neplacerile provocate si sa apasati pe acest link pentru a va dezabona http://www.bltblahblah. Va multumim."
Cretinii au trecut si "site-urile partenere" pentru a justifica spam-ul si a ingreuna gasirea vinovatului;probabl au contracte semnate cu sute de clienti, care le sunt si parteneri pana la urma,nu?
Faza tare vine in momentul in care apesi link-ul;apare asta:
Ratatii nu ma pot dezabona pentru ca au o eroare in sistem (o aveau si ieri,or s-o aiba si maine) dar imi ofera posibilitatea de a suna la niste numere de telefon pentru a rezolva problema. Ah,ati observat cat de agramati sunt? Intr -o fraza de 15 cuvinte, un sfert sunt gresite! hahah Ce facem daca nu raspunde nimeni, pana la urma sunte in plina criza si oamenii n-au timp sa raspunda la telefoane. Este incredibil cum romanii gasesc tot felul de tertipuri de a ocoli o situatie absolut normala, in care un simplu sistem automat poate dezabona o adresa de e-mail cu 2 clickuri.
Le-am dat un email si le-am umplut frigideru’ de carne,i-am amenintat cu protectia consumatorului si astept cu interes raspunsul lor de luni. Daca nu-l primesc, am sa completez un formular. Cu putin noroc, isi iau cateva mii de lei amenda. Consider ca merita cele 5 minute pierdute scriind un email.

[en] The alcohol test [funny]

30 aprilie 2009
 Very funny way of using an alcohol tester!

[en] In search for the perfect GPS Tracker for BlackBerry [tech/GSM/BlackBerry]

24 aprilie 2009

Recently I switched sides;I didn’t go to the Dark Side, to the Jesus phone, the Iphone because I needed a smartphone , not a toy (ok, I’m a bit harsh here, the Iphone is almost a smartphone and will be if they make it a multi-tasking device). So I got a BlackBerry Bold instead. It has a real keyboard, a nice and wide screen and a fast processor.

Now I’m using it and needing a free GPS tracker.So I started testing.
For 2 months I’ve used GPSed. Nice program, lots of options and features, great possibilities on usability.
You can:
- record GPS track from your mobile and trace them on a map
- pin your pictures on a map based on GPS co-ordinates by geotagging
- attach photos to tracks from web-albums like Flickr, Picasa , etc
- share your tracks and photos with friends
- show your geographic position instantly
- the program is available to most of the phones equipped  with a GPS module, on various OS platforms like Symbian , Windows Mobile,Iphone and BlackBerry . Additionally, you can get a Java version for other smartphones. All these are based on Google Maps . That’s both a plus and a minus. A plus is because it’s easier to buld an app on top on a map already very exact. A minus for the same reason: an very exact map but especially focused on Western&North Europe and United States.I live in Romania. If I need a close POI Google Maps is not helpful. A map focused on my region and the locations I visit frequently is for example, Mio.
How it works? Pretty good. All you have to do is to start up the program and it will quietly run in the background all the time while you do other things on your smartphone. You can also run at the same time a GPS program (like AmAze you can run on various OS’-here are a bunch of demos) and even another GPS tracker if you like. The only toll taken is battery life. But I’ll comeback to that later, at the end.
You can be tracked in two ways: the phone updates your position in real time on GPSed.com, so people can track your progress (but this means you have to have a data plan which can be expensive AND GSM signal to constantly uplod data) or you can save your track at the end of the journey on the phone, data that can be uploaded onto GPSed.com by smartphone or PC. The 2nd variant is cheaper and safer. Why safer? Because I noticed that my real-time tracks were uploaded incomplete onto the site. This one was 2x longer than shown here. Why? I don’t know-I traveled on important roads with 3G GSM coverage on more than 60% of the time. An e-mail to the support team at GPSed didn’t change the outcome. They’ve replied a week later telling me they’ve submitted my enquiry to the developer;so far,so good. It’ll probably take them another month to check it.
And this is my main issue: this is a GPS tracker and can’t track my journeys properly. User support is virtually inexistent.It’s nice, it has tons of features I don’t use. I just wanna use the one important to me and I can’t as I should.
I have to say all these are not new. Several other programs offer the same functionality. The next try-out is happening right now.
Instamapper is a simple GPS tracker based on Google Maps (also). A simpler approach was taken probably in order to keep the layout simple and to have optimum results.
The Demo shows how the system works: it links the signals sent by the GPS module to put together the journey. The signals can be sent from the device from 1 to 999 seconds but idealy every 10-15 seconds while in town and over 121 seconds while out-of-town.The reason? As seen, the link doesn’t necessary follow the road and that’s my main gripe. When you travel outside the city, it’s really ok: you don’t change directions so often, so for sure you’ll be following the road even when sending signals every 2 minutes. But when in town, you can’t track the journey very accurate unless you modify the settings so the transmission to the site will be done every 10 to 15 seconds. Otherwise you have eroneous data. Data looks something like this:
2008-04-27 02:24:27
N 47.51167
W 122.19801
Altitude: 197 ft
Speed: 41 mph
Heading: 356
All data will be converted to metric if you live in a "metric" zone. You can save the track and share it with others thru a link you can provide; there is even a Facebook integration.There is some data usage (sending the data from the phone to the site)  but Instamapper figures it won’t be more than 1 MB/month with fair usage. The supported OS’ are Iphone,Android and BlackBerry. Curiously, Nokia (Symbian) isn’t listed although there’s a line about some successful usage with some Nokia. But anybody can try,right?
I more important thing: battery life. Any of the GPS trackers or even regular maping systems will eat the battery in a few hours. A GPS tracker will use around 60% of the battery energy if used non-stop for around 3 hours with a 30 seconds updating schedule. This is a known issue but there is no cure for the moment except restricted usage for long periods of time and/or a car charger. On my way back from Galati I’ve changed the updating period from 30 seconds to 2 minutes thus putting the program at sleep in bewteen communications. This allowed me to use only 25% of the battery life to track the same distance. A big difference indeed.
I am stopping here for the moment but other GPS trackers follow. I am sticking to Instamapper for the moment. It’s free, accurate, simple and efficient.

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[en] Disappointment [life]

1 aprilie 2009

     I Like this quote I dislike this quote

Anytime I am looking to somebody else as my source, I’m coming from scarcity. I am no longer trusting God, or the Universe, for my harvest. It’s reasonable for me to have expectations based on what somebody I trust has committed to. And it’s natural for me to feel disappointed when that somebody doesn’t come through. But when I feel more than disappointment, when I also feel anger, it’s because I deviated from my truth. It’s because I compromised my truth to get what somebody else promised. Because when I’m really following my truth, I will be at peace with the consequences whatever they are. I can accept somebody else’s truth, but I must live my own truth. And sometimes that means walking away from a relationship.


Jan Denise

[ro] A.G Weinberger la Hard Rock Cafe – cu adevarat Mr. Blues! [hrana pentru suflet]

18 martie 2009
Pe A.G Weinberger il urmaresc inca din 2000,cand am ascultat "Standard Weinberger" si mai apoi "Good Morning,Mr. Blues", albume alcatuite in special din cover-uri dupa R&B -uri celebre.
Si cum am nimerit intamplator in Hard Rock Cafe in seara in care Mr. Blues canta (biletul a costat 25 lei-sa fim seriosi,nu putem aprecia chiar deloc o valoare,mai ales ca in Romania asa ceva este rar?!) acolo si evident ca am ramas pana la final!
A fost exceptional. De nota 10 . Profesionist. Omul asta traieste muzica intr-un mod cum rar mi-a fost dat sa vad:este ca si cum canta pentru el,in timp ce noi facem parte din mediul inconjurator.La un moment-dat, a luat-o la picior prin sala in timpul unui lung Intermezzo (facut tot de catre el la chitara,ca un adevarat bluesman) si a vorbim cu publicul,cantand pentru doua domnisoare de la bar,care nu pareau foarte interesate de concert,cu toate ca boxele bubuiau si acopereau orice fel de conversatie.
Daca am apreciat ceva IN AFARA de muzica, a fost faptul ca A.G comunica cu publicul, vorbeste cu oamenii, le da sfaturi si povesteste tot felul de lucruri care-i trec prin cap.Asta trebuie sa faca un artist.Muzica vorbeste in locul sau,insa cateodata "imaginea este una, iar omul din spatele imaginii este altceva ",ca sa parafrazez un alt mare entertainer.
Iar daca pretul biletelor nu arata aprecierea de care se bucura,vorbind cu barmanul am aflat ca TOATE mesele au fost rezervate cu cateva zile inainte;macar asta sa arate ca A.G se bucura de apreciere in Romania,cel putin la fel de multa ca in Statele Unite.
Am gasit un interviu interesant cu el, sursa de unde provine si fotografia de mai sus.
Am pus niste fotografii si un scurt clip (o bucatica din superba "Someone") pe Flickr-scuze de calitatea imaginilor si a sunetului, insa cea mai buna camera este aia pe care o ai cu tine cand ai nevoie!

[ro] Noua Leana si-a facut blog… [Romanik/Crap]

16 martie 2009
Am ras mereu de Gaga . Am ras mereu de colegii gangavi,care nu erau in stare sa lege doua vorbe.Asta se intampla cand eram mic.Asa sunt copii,cruzi si fara prea mult discernamant fata de o situatie posibil nefericita.
Mai tarziu inveti sa apreciezi ceea ce ai si sa te intristezi cand vezi ca acei copii cresc, insa raman la fel de gangavi, se taraie prin scoala cu note de 5 doar pentru ca nimeni nu are inima sa ii lase repetenti si sa le strice viata de adulti. In marea lor majoritatea, astia-s aia care ajung sa fie carnea de tun a smecherilor care-i fraieresc si le fura banii in fiecare zi la piata, pe strada, la telefon si la serviciu. Astia-s aia care joaca mereu la Loto, care participa la emisiunile TV de gen "Soacra si Nora" sau "Tradati in Dragoste". Astia-s aia pe care oamenii ii numesc atat de generic (si de fals!) "prosti".
In categoria Gaga se inscrie si d-ra Elena Basescu . Care vrea sa intre in politica. Sau "care este" (sic!) deja in politica (si n-oi sti eu!). Doar pentru ca tac-su e presedinte (se scrie cu litera mare-ca oricum nu merita),isi permite sa insulte o natie cu aberatiile ei. Faptul ca este agramata nu sperie pe nimeni.Nici pe tac-su.Nici macar pe ea. Sa ne amintim:
- "Po?i s? ai ?i e?ecuri, po?i s? ai ?i succesuri, pot s? fie oameni care nu vor s? vorbesc cu tine."
- "clip"
- "clip"
Iar acum si-a facut blog (am trecut si link-ul pentru a nu uita vreodata ineptiile scrise acolo).Pe care debiteaza aceleasi prostii pe care nici macar nu le-a invatat ca lumea (insa se balbaie cand vorbeste in public). Aceleas tampenii pe care le auzim de 20 de ani de la politicieni mai vexati chiar si decat tac-su.
Ar fi bine sa ramana la sedintele de aerobic de la IDM, la silicoanele injectate si la "lookin’ pretty" pentru masculi. Atata timp cat nu deschide gura (sa vorbeasca) este cea mai frumoasa si cea ma desteapta. Fata mumoasa a lu’ tata Mwahhh!

[ro] Buzunarul cu paine [teatru]

16 martie 2009
Piesa asta este diferita. Este altfel decat celelalte la care am fost in ultima perioada. Pe celelalte le-am considerat interesante, iar despre unele chiar am scris doua-trei randuri. Despre altele n-am scris pentru ca nu am avut timp, insa asta nu inseamna ca nu le-am apreciat sau ca le-am desconsiderat.
Insa asta este altfel. "Actiunea"(daca o pot numi asa) se desfasoara cu incentinitorul, replicile sunt cateodata amuzante , absurd de amuzante. Pentru ca "Buzunarul cu paine" este un joc al absurdului. O piesa despre existenta absurda a doi oameni…si a unui ipotetic caine. Este un exercitiu din care inveti cat de mica este valoarea pe care o are viata unora.
Pe siteul teatrului  Metropolis , Oana Pelea spune ca personajul sau este nihilismul absolut. Eu cred nu este nevoie de prea multa stiinta pentru a observa cat de inutil isi pierd unii timpul. Si cat de usor este aluneci in ridicol. Si sa-ti ratezi existenta si posibilitatea de a contribui cu ceva bun la viata celorlalti.
Decat sa ma apuc sa povestesc sau sa dezvolt ce-am scris mai sus, mai bine citez din recenzia oficiala:"Tocmai din cauza filozofarii excesive pe tema virtutilor si frumusetii actiunii, personajele raman paralizate exact atunci cand ar trebui sa actioneze. Fata de tipurile din drama absurda, cele doua personaje ale lui visniec sunt figuri mai bine conturate. Transpunerea este una vie, alerta, tratand caractere individuale, dureri si spaime, nu intotdeauna proprii umanitatii."
Piesa merita vazuta. Iar surpriza de la sfarsit este un mare pas in interactiunea cu publicul privitor. M-am bucurat foarte mult de ea!


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