Recently in Apple Category

Fairer App ratings

February 27, 2009 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

Apple has restored fairness to a system that I felt was being abused. The App Store, which allows users to browse and download Apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, no longer accepts ratings from those who haven’t used the Apps before.

I noticed the loophole in the system myself, when reading a review about a French conjugator App (blogged about previously). I eventually purchased it and thought it was an excellent App, and realised that the earlier reviewer had his facts wrong. He alleged that it could only translate from English to French and not back, which was totally untrue. I wrote my own review, which was more positive, rebutted his claims, and gave it a 5 star rating to offset his (which was 3 stars only).

I was annoyed that people could rate Apps based on screen shots and presumptions without even trying them out. It is unfair to the creators of the Apps as it would affect their ratings and possibly their sales. Maybe some nasty reviews were posted by rivals, or these were people who just had nothing better to do.

Whatever the case, I’m happy that things are fairer now. May the best App win.

MacBook Pro out of disk space!

February 5, 2009 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

Startup disk full

Somehow, in less than a year I’ve managed to fill up my MacBook Pro’s 250 GB hard drive. In a relatively short period of time I’ve accumulated a lot of photos and videos, and as a student I’ve saved lots of notes onto my hard drive. My MacBook Pro got sluggish a few months ago and I realised it was running out of space. I deleted some files and upgraded the RAM to 4GB. That helped.

Then I was tempted by a classmate to install Windows 7 beta on my Mac. This exacerbated the disk space shortage when I installed VMWare Fusion which partitioned 40GB of space by default (somehow I couldn’t change the settings to a lower allocation).

Importing even more photos and videos left me with only a few hundred megabytes of space tonight, which wasn’t enough for Windows 7 to launch. In which case I might as well uninstall Windows 7 until I upgrade my hard disk or transfer some non-essential files out of my MacBook Pro. I’m inspired by Kevin’s hard disk upgrade though I have to put it off until the holidays at least. Can’t afford to mess up my computer with deadlines to meet and exams coming up in 3 weeks.

I may even upload all my photos to Flickr and delete them off my hard drive. I do have portable hard disks but their space is limited and I prefer using them solely for backup purposes.

So, upgrading the hard drive is a new item on my growing to-do list…

My iPhone 3G!

September 3, 2008 12:07 AM | Comments (3)

iPhone and box

Yes, I finally did it. I am now the proud owner of a 3G iPhone, 16GB. I chose black, even though the 8GB model only comes in black, because while white looks unusual, I might get tired of it. Black is strong and suits me fine.

Activating the iPhone 3G

My SingTel salesperson let me take photos as he activated the new iPhone. He also told me that SingTel has sold 15,000 iPhones so far, which is good by Singapore standards.

Any chance of M1 and Starhub coming out with it soon? Not in the near future, I was told … and it did make sense since other Telco companies in partnership with Apple haven’t lost their exclusive hold on iPhones in other countries, either.

Fits into new iPhone

As you can see, my old iPhone and new iPhone were getting acquainted. I heard the iPhone 3G was less ‘anal retentive’ in being able to accept third-party earphone jacks.

What I liked the most was that backed up data from the old iPhone was transferred seamlessly to the new iPhone. Not only were all my extra Apps installed, they were arranged in the same order. On top of that, when I opened my French dictionary app, it displayed the last verb and tense that was conjugated! So it recalled my last move on the app on the previous phone, and transferred that detail to the new phone. Amazing.

Bugs noticed: Apps quit suddenly. This is with firmware 2.0 and I am upgrading to 2.0.2 to see if it improves things. Too early to notice anything wrong with the 3G connection, because there’s wireless in school and at home. Will update this post if I have time and if something’s serious enough.

For the past few weeks I’ve contemplated getting a multiple language dictionary. I found a couple of possible models at Funan and was considering the price tag (between S$500-800). I wondered if it was worth it and whether I’d really use most of its features and languages.

Now that I’m able to buy apps from the iTunes store, I decided to see whether I could do without paying another big bill and handling yet another gadget. I’d be happy with a relative micropayment if it could help me access French words so it can help me with my devoirs (homework)!

After some browsing around, I decided to buy the Ultralingua French and English dictionary, which was just released this month.

According to the stats (0 downloads so far), I might be the very first purchaser! Contrary to what the only reviewer has stated, this dictionary does not just translate from English to French, but switches the other way round too. I’m baffled as to why he gave it a 3-star rating without having even tried the app yet!

Purchasing the app was easy. I entered my iTunes Store password and it was downloaded. See bottom right corner:

Downloaded

I was asked to type in a French word. I decided, since I just had lunch, to type ‘dejeuner’. The dictionary immediately added the ‘accent aigu’ so it became ‘déjeuner’, which is the correct spelling.

Ultralingua home page

When I held my finger against the word ‘déjeuner’, a second-level balloon box appeared. I had the option of looking it up in the dictionary, conjugating or checking it on Google.

Type in a French word

I got it conjugated in the present tense by default.

Conjugated!

In total, it was able to conjugate the word in the following tenses:

  1. Présent,
  2. Futur,
  3. Futur antérieur,
  4. Imparfait,
  5. Passé composé,
  6. Plus-que-parfait,
  7. Passé simple,
  8. Passé anterieur,
  9. Conditionnel,
  10. Conditionnel passé,
  11. Subjonctif present,
  12. Passe du subjonctif,
  13. Subjonctif imparfait,
  14. Plus-que-parfait du subjonctif,
  15. Impératif,

Considering how I’ve only covered nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 15, this app is more than I’ll need for my INSEAD third language exam. I hope!

Amusingly, you can also switch to English and conjugate the word as well, except it would be very obvious to native English speakers like us - ‘I lunch, you lunch, he/she/it lunches, we lunch, they lunch’… It’s another noun that’s become a verb, I guess.

I’ll update this post if I find any bugs or other good features. So far, so good, and now I have no more excuses to ‘fais mes devoirs’!

Review of iPhone free apps

July 30, 2008 4:22 PM | Comments (2)

After playing around with free iPhone apps for half a day, I’m pretty satisfied with most of them. Here’s my take on a few of them.

Bloomberg app

I think Bloomberg’s app has done a fantastic job in terms of providing lots of information but in a user-friendly way. It managed to display recent news on every Singapore share I own.

Speaking of shares, I wondered how Apple was doing, so I decided to check them out:

Bloomberg - Apple stock info

Recent news on Apple:

Bloomberg - Apple recent news

And if you flip your iPhone sideways, you’ll be pleased to see this:

Bloomberg - Apple chart

I give Bloomberg 5 stars for this very intuitive app, and so have most other people.

Facebook

The Facebook app looked and behaved as expected. It took a bit of time to display my friends’ data, but that could be because I have nearly 1,000 friends.

Facebook app

Likewise, the Chat feature took a while to load, but managed to get there.

Netnewswire

I was glad that Netnewswire did not charge for the iPhone version of their software. The Netnewswire app syncs with the version installed on your Mac. You need an online account with them for this. I have decided to replace my old Google Reader bookmark with this app, since I can use this while offline.

Netnewswire

Twitterrific

I decided to try the Twitterrific app. So far so good. It, along with a couple other Twitter apps I’ve seen so far, has a geolocation feature although I have yet to see how this gets reflected on my Twitter updates. [Update: I have switched it off because it’s annoying.]

Twitterrific with Geolocation

Currency app

This was a simple app that alllows you to view major currencies compared with a baseline currency. You can configure all of these. The only catch is that some smaller countries’ currencies are not included yet.

Currency app

Bible apps

My quest continues for a good iPhone bible. The app I installed is useless without an internet connection. If we were in an old church that doesn’t have wireless, or at church camp/bible study etc, we would prefer something that was ready to go. There are many more Bible apps but they all come at a price, so I may wait for the reviews to accumulate before deciding and purchasing one. I am primarily looking for something which has the NIV. It would be nice to have other types of Bibles, commentaries and dictionaries as well.

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