Take this as you will. USA  Today is reporting that AT&T’s exclusive partnership to sell the iPhone is a 5-year deal with Apple. If this holds out to be true, then that sound you just heard was that of millions of Verizon customers crying about having to wait until 2012 for the possibility to get the iPhone.
The other sound you may have also heard is that of millions of AT&T customers sobbing because they will possibly be stuck on AT&T for another two more years if this bit of info is true. AT&T is notorious for having poor infrastructure.
The newest survey finds AT&T as having a 4.5% dropped calls rate in the last 90 days. T-Mobile comes in at 2.8%, Sprint with 2.4% and the least is Verizon with only 1.5% rate of dropped calls.
Suck it up Verizon and AT&T kids, you’ll always be screwed if you iDo and screwed if you iDon’t. Here’s hoping Apple decides to say screw both networks and go with T-Mobile and it’s ready to be pumping 21 Mbps of 3G goodness!

Take that iPhone. NPD Group’s latest survey estimates that Google’s Android-powered smartphones have slipped up into second place for the first quarter with 28%. Apple’s iPhone total iPhone is sitting in third place for the first quarter with 21%. The king is still RIM’s BlackBerry with a market of 36% amongst cell phones for the first quarter.
This is great news for Google and its partners who have continuously pushed out great phones, including the Nexus One, Droid, and the recent Droid Incredible (Verizon). Google can bask in the light of second place for now, but don’t count Apple down for the count just yet.
Android’s position could possibly be attributed to the fact that many customers are holding out on purchasing an iPhone, especially with the iPhone 4 ready to be released soon in Apple’s annual phone update. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be surprised that the iPhone hasn’t been able to rake in top dog, after all, there are only two models of the iPhone being sold, the 3G and 3GS and let’s be frank, I don’t think the iPhone 3G is really pushing the sales numbers for Apple. Compare that to the dozens of smartphones running Android and RIM always pushing out new versions of the Curve and Bold, it’s no surprise for sure.
Expect the release of iPhone 4 to shift the game in Apple’s favor, if the rumors of a front-facing video camera for video chat, longer battery, 5 megapixel camera, HD 720p recording and higher resolution screen are believed to be true.

I know that articles have not been as frequent as I would like. That is because finals are ramping up, and graduation is around the corner. However, I do want to say that my Twitter @raykm00 is updated frequently. Thanks to TwitterBar, impulsive tweets are always a click away.

I’ve been pondering micro-blogging for a long time, and while I don’t think it’s a main avenue for blogging YET, I do think it is addictive and fun sometimes. So I encourage readers to add me if you haven’t, and I’ll try my best to entertain you. Oh, and it’s mostly tech tweets, but hey, that’s what you come here for anyway!

[Note: This is a re-post from Ploked from 4/28/10]
More, more, more. In the tech world, who doesn’t want more megahertz in their CPUs? Faster and more powerful GPUs for the increasing demand of high definition video from 1080p. Moore’s Law states that every two years the number of transistors on a circuit board can be doubled. Thus, this is the reason why the iPhones or BlackBerry’s in our pocket are nearly as powerful as a computer I purchased ten years ago. The silicon is shrinking and the hardware is getting stronger.

There’s only one problem – the battery. Batteries haven’t improved as fast as the rest of the computing world. In fact, why the hell are we still using Duracells and Energizers? AA batteries should be obsolete by now. There shouldn’t be a single digital camera on the market that has a battery that can’t last through a days worth of picture taking. No buts. End of story. It’s two-oh-freaking-ten. Designers, get with the times, please!

When Apple revealed their iPhone back in 2007 sporting an internal non-replaceable battery, the world cried foul. Then look what happened. Oh right, no one is whining about it anymore (except for all those Nokia fanboys). The rate at which our gadgets are used to their fullest potential and then disposed is so rapid today that it doesn’t matter. I don’t know a single person who owns an iPhone and has used it to its max for two years and has needed to get the battery replaced – they are still holding charges and bobbing along.

Scene from “The Matrix” (1999)

Asutek (Asus) struck on something interesting back when it introduced the first eeePC and practically opened the floodgates to the Netbook category. Their batteries, at the time, sucked. The original 7″ eeePC ran a variant of the open source OS, Linux, and while it was supposed to be the stepping stone to the future, the OS never caught on. Unlike Windows XP, Linux is so un-bloated that a 3-cell battery lasted quite a long time back in the day. We all know what happened to Linux. Consumers demanded Windows XP, and they got it for another couple years until Microsoft shipped Windows 7. Once everyone made the jump to Windows again on their little Netbooks, people demanded more battery. The 3-cell could no longer cut it. We needed 6, 9, and even 12-cell batteries. As the batteries expanded, the slimness of Netbooks became chunky. The Netbook of today is hardly what you would consider ultraportable. At best, a good Netbook is expected to be able to handle a day’s worth of web browsing, because let’s face it, no one wants to be lugging around an AC adapter at all. Lesson: If you’re going to do Linux, make it a competitor to Windows. I’m willing to bet Google’s extremely feather light Chrome OS will be able to jump start what Asus, HP, and many other companies have failed at.

If you asked me which Atom processor is the best for a Netbook, I’d probably have to spend a bit of time on Google. I’ve lost track of all the Intel Atom versions (now there’s dual core Atoms?). The most important thing when considering any mobile device is now, of course, the battery.

With almost every Android phone packing a 1Ghz Snapdragon processsor or iPads with their A4’s and Netbooks with their Atoms, the processor is no longer the cherry on top. Finding a computer that fits your needs, looks good, and has incredible battery life is no easy feat.
One of the companies that have been innovating and putting a larger chunk of R&D into getting more juice out of the old Lithium is none other than Cupertino’s Apple, Inc. Apple may get a lot of attention for their shiny new gadgets from their iPods, iPads, and iPhones, but no one can complain that the batteries that power Apple’s latest gadgets are anything but spectacular.

Last year, Apple completely flipped the laptop industry upside down. Following their iPod and iPhone line, they did away with the user replaceable battery in their MacBook Pros and went with a sealed battery. The result of this is more room for a larger battery. According to their tests, a MacBook could get up to seven hours of battery on one charge. My 2007 MacBook gets almost two and a half hours on one full charge. How’s that for a leap in mobile usability! The way it works is, instead of wasting room with battery latches and other doodads, Apple’s been able to expand the battery surface area. They’ve also designed their MacBooks to have batteries that aren’t cylindrical. In their latest update last week, Apple now claims their 13″ MacBook Pro can get up to 10 hours of battery and their higher end models can achieve up to 8 hours. What other notebook can claim those kind of numbers? Early impressions by various tech heads across the web have already been putting the new machines through various workloads and the numbers are in: it’s damn close to what Apple’s claiming.

Anyone with an iPad now knows how impressive the thing is. Hell, even I’m stunned (although I won’t be buying one anytime soon). David Pogue of the New York Times and Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal have both claimed that the iPad can play movies continuously back to back for over Apple’s stated 10 hours. That’s almost the span of a direct flight from New York to China!

Similar to Nintendo’s approach, the time for  bigger, better, faster, and cheaper is slowly whittling away. We are approaching a time where universal access (in industrialized nations) will no longer be a hindrance. We need the energy (preferably clean energy) to power the insatiable digital lives we continue to pursue.

I challenge all electronics designers and producers to herald in more battery efficient gadgets. It’s about time batteries evolved. Whether they be sealed into our devices or not, it doesn’t matter. It only matters that the batteries last long and don’t explode!

Some time after I left Hong Kong last summer and arrived back in New York, I noticed something fishy about my photos. There was something wrong. I didn’t figure it out until I was recalibrating the white balance on my Nikon D40 DSLR (to recalibrate white balance, just take a picture of a white piece of paper or white wall). I took shot after shot, and they all came out with an ugly black spot in them. I flipped through my old photos and noticed they were present when I was snapping at HK International Airport. DSLRs aren’t cheap, and what happens when it breaks? I started to panic.

As always, thanks to the Internet, I found a solution to my problem. It turned out that dirt and dust had gotten into my camera sensor. Probably from rain and other careless handling (such as incorrectly changing lenses when I was in a rush). There are a lot of idiots who will tell you that you need to bring in your gear to a camera shop. Ignore those people for now. There also other people who will tell you to buy some kind of wet wipes. NEVER do this. You will permanently ruin your DSLR.

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The RED circle shows the dirt is consistent in each shot.

The solution that does the trick for the most part is a simple little pump called a Rocket Blower. It’s made by Giotto. You can find it at Adorama or B&H. I paid about $13 for mines.

How do you clean it? Well the Rocket Blower is really just like a small balloon pump.

Here’s a step by step guide to clean your sensor if you notice dirt on it like I did:

1. Unmount lens.

2.  Hold the DSLR with the sensor facing DOWN. This is because gravity will pull dust and dirt downward, preventing more dirt to enter and the dirt to fall downwards when you pump the dirt out.

3. Holding the Giotto Rocket Blower in the other hand, stick the tip into the DSLR.

4. Squeeze the blower a couple of times. If you want to be sure you got everything, I’d recommend doing it least 10 times just to be sure, otherwise you’d have to do it again.

5. Still holding the camera down, mount the lens back in.

Voila, you’ve just cleaned your sensor and your pictures should be shiny and clean again!

CLEAN again!

As soon as I saw this setup, I knew it was stupid. Just dumb. Why anyone would think this is a good idea is beyond me. As noted, I do think the iPad is a very nice, albeit limited piece of hardware. It’s made for touch input, and that is what it excels at. Converting it into a desktop when at home defeats the entire purpose of the device.

Just look at it. There’s a speaker and a huge Logitech keyboard (the keyboard of which is very comfortable to type on). Take a look at all the cables. It’s the spitting image of everything that Apple does not represent – clutter, ugliness, and cables.

This image makes me look at my netbook, and say damn, at least HP knows how to design good hardware. Using this setup would only make you miss your REAL computer more. Like FLASH, a MOUSE, and a real DESKTOP, a larger screen with a HIGHER RESOLUTION. It’s pointless.Why bother with this at home? It’s like you want to do real work, but not really.

This my friends is why there will still be a market for netbooks and why the iPad will never overtake desktops or laptops.

A couple of years ago I started to aggressively order things online. Mostly electronics. I often find steep discounts off things I would never need, but want nonetheless on Slickdeals or Fatwallet. Other times, trusted online retailers like Amazon and Newegg are a man’s best friend. The shipping boxes, however aren’t.

A couple of years ago, I read about the crazy packaging that retailers ship customer’s orders in. There were stories of flash drives in massive boxes from Dell, Amazon, and more. What’s worse is that it’s entirely wasteful. As someone who used to process online orders for a retailer, I can only say that there is a reason why sometimes you will receive a large box for your flash drive.

One of the reasons is stock of packaging material. Simply put that it may happen that there are no more small boxes left to pack your flash drives in, so a large box must be used, despite being wasteful.

The second is laziness. If the person handling your order doesn’t feel like walking to where the small boxes are kept, they won’t. They’ll use whatever box is closest to them. If the only ones near them are large ones, you’re getting a large one. So next time, you complain about these companies being wasteful, don’t. It’s really the fault of the employee. Managers train them, but hell, when no one is looking, do you think a tired employee cares? Because they don’t. I’m not going to lie, but I’ve committed several of these slips myself.

Employees are only human. It’s not a robot that’s packing your order, believe me.

In light of all this, I’m very happy to report that at least Amazon appears to be taking better measures to cut back on wastes. Look at this package box that my New Super Mario Bros. Wii came in a couple weeks ago. It’s a tight fit. If Amazon is engineering packaging for specific products such as DVDs, CDs, and books, etc., this could be very beneficial for the planet.

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Keep it up Amazon. As the largest online retailer, it has the responsibility to set an example for others to follow.