Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

iPhoto Books: be warned!


No, I'm not going to complain about the output quality (at least not yet as I'm still waiting for my order).

What I want to complain about is the fact that your iPhoto Book orders do not show up on your Apple Store account. And apparently this oddity has been happening for quite a while.

That means that there is no way for you to know about your order status. Of course there is a confirmation email sent to your Apple ID email but, what if your .mac account has expired? (then you no longer have access to that email).

To make things worse, once 1-click order has been activated iPhoto will not ask you for an additional confirmation when issuing a new order (I guess that's the 1-click beauty once your Apple ID email account works nicely).

Calling customer service did not help much, as I was assured my credit card was not billed and somehow I had no pending orders. Calling my bank gave me another version: My credit card was billed (and apparently my order was taking longer than expected to arrive).

At this point I was no longer sure the "easy" route that iPhoto promised to get my photo book was actually easy. Even worse, once I realize customer service gave me the wrong information after forcing me to wait several minutes at the phone I was angry.

To make things worse, I had order a second photo book by mistake (thinking the customer service information was right and being unable so see the order on the Apple Store site). And I could not find a way to cancel that duplicated order.

Thankfully, the link provided above included a cool tip. You can visit this url to know your iPhoto Book orders and, if within 90 minutes from your order, you can cancel it. What this information is not clearly stated on Apple Store I do not know. However I have asked them to fix this as it's been this way for at least two years.

Apple Store's answer:

iPhoto is an Online service that does not belong to our Store.

For any query or issue with iPhotos, please, go to http://www.apple.com/es/support/photoservices/contact_us/ . You will find a rebate to fill out, and in the next 48 business hours, an agent will provide you full support by email.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

E-ink experience


Not yet very affordable, but better than I expected. This is my opinion after buying an ebook reader. Mine is branded Papyre 6.1 but it's named Hanlin v3 in other countries. It's manufactured in China (what a surprise!) and it runs Linux (it has an ARM processor).

Definitely worth watching at. However I have not used it for more than a few minutes so I do not have an opinion about the long term usefulness of the device. But if it delivers what I've seen in the tests it is more than worth it.

Now I'm sorry but I'm back to reading, please do not disturb.

Update:

The reading experience has been better than expected. And the availability of contents has also been better than expected.

What I have not find, however, is a shop with the latest books. But that only meant some books cannot be bought but they might be available somewhere ...

For example, I was reading a paper copy of this book in Spanish. And I had no trouble finding an electronic version.

There is a cheaper electronic book in Spain called iLiber, but it does not come with a cover, earbuds or MP3 support.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Online network doctor


Years ago, in a distant galaxy, I was a member of ICSI. Now I've been surprised about one their offerings to the community: A network analyzer. It's Java-based so it won't work unless you have Java support in your browser and you're happy running digitally signed code.
You may learn a couple of things about your network connection.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Yann Arthus-Bertrand's HOME

A succession of breathtaking sequences shot from the air is the newest release by this widely awarded photographer. It's really worth watching.

You can get the movie for free! Movie is available in theaters all over the world (but apparently not in USA) and also in YouTube in HD. Although the beauty of the images might be better enjoyed on the big screen, you can have a look at it on-line.

What amazes me is that it is the creators of the movie who decided to release it on YouTube at the same time than in theaters. The release details were given on a press conference.

The movie has been sponsored by PPR, a French multinational in the fashion business.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Two useful additions to your Iomega Screenplay pro HD

I've found the network transfers to take forever on this device. Between 1 and 2 Mbytes/second is really slow by todays standards. It means around 4GB per hour.

I'm happy with the torrent download functionality I mentioned on a previous entry but there is a catch: What if your download contains a sequence of RAR files? Yep, it happened to me with a 16GB download. Moving this back and forth to a PC would took more than 8 hours!!

So the obvious idea is ... why not to have unrar command on the SPP? And this is what I did. I looked for the source code, and using a buildroot ext2 image file I compiled unrar command. Now I can telnet to my box and launch it without the need of moving files back and forth. It's not lightspeed but it's minutes instead of hours.

The other improvement was to add SSH functionality by borrowing dropbear binary from OpenWRT project. Please have a look at dropbear documentation so you can install in properly on your system (a few files and links need to be created to get it working). It also includes SCP file transfers.