iOS: hyperlinks in email

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Do you know that when you receive an email  from a friend, who may give you a phone number and a date to meet for a drink, those items become hyperlinks. In other words, when you click on the blue underlined phone number and date, it will bring you to Contacts and Calendar respectively. It means, a phone number can be stored to an existing contact or you can create a new one, and the date when click will direct you to the calendar date and page to edit as an appointment. What it means is that you don’t even need to do a cut/paste and you create a contact or update, and a calendar event just like that, from an email.

When I used Android 1.5, I don’t remember this feature. Since there was no cut/paste either, I had to jog the info down on a piece of paper. Now that Android is at 2.6 version, I believe, may be this feature is now available like the iOS ?! I will check on my friend’s Samsung Galaxy II and update this when I find out.

Cheers.

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Watch out! USB 3.0 has arrived.

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This is a topic I find most people didn’t really know about is USB devices and connections. To keep it simple, you want to match the device (DVD-ROM, Portable HD, WebCam, Printer, etc) and connection of the same standard version, i.e., USB 2.0 connection on your laptop with a USB 2.0 device. During the switch of USB1.0 to USB2.0 most companies didn’t want you to know about the change, so that they can keep selling USB 1.0 products, and it caused some problems, for some products are not backward compatible. So you don’t want that to happen, although it is said that USB 3.0 is backward compatible.

At the end of the day, what does an average consumer needs to know about USB?

  1. It is a standard for connection of peripheral equipment to your PC.
  2. New standard is about new transfer rate, i.e., USB 3.0 (5Gbit/sec) is faster than USB 2.0  (480mbit/sec).
  3. On your computer, it is daisy-chained, although you will see multiple USB ports, i.e., you are sharing the same port for multiple extended equipment. In other words, the speed of data transfer is reduced by the number of devices attached.
  4. It’s backward compatible, and the lower denominator is the connection speed. In other words, connecting a USB 2.0 portable DVD ROM to a USB 3.0 will only transfer data at a maximum speed of a USB 2.0 port(480mbit/sec).
So this means when you buy a new computer, check which type of USB ports it come with, I have seen some with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, and know which one is which. Since it is still fairly new-ish, USB 3.0 devices will be more expensive as usual for companies to make more money, so make your decision based on return on investment(ROI); in other words, if you have a USB 3.0 port on your computer, and you really need to buy a new portable drive, it would make more sense to buy a USB 3.0 drive than a USB 2.0’s, maybe not so much on a cost/MB perspective, but for future usability and time saved on backing up. It’s all up to you, but at least arm with knowledge of what you are paying for. Do you own research!
Cheers.

Smartphones: an evolution not innovation!

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The Android Emulator home screen.

Image via Wikipedia

Smartphone is not an innovation, but a convergence of technologies: cellular phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), a portable game console, a digital camera and recorder, and a eReader. In other words, each of these technologies exists on its own, and still has its own niche market. Nonetheless, it is a good thing cause it saves a lot of space in lieu of carrying all these stuff. What happened in the past, some of the stuff, like my pocket digital camera was just left at home… same went for my Palm III and later Toshiba E400 (colour- 256K) PDA. Simply, it was totally inconvenient to carry three or four gadgets with me.

Now, all I have is my iPhone 4. I have been telling my friends that there is really one thing that distinguish it from an Android phone: its elegance. I can say that because before I converted I was using the first generation Google Phone: HTC Dream. Three years ago, it was a great phone and so much less expensive than the iPhone, and it had so much potential. what turned me off was the fact that Google didn’t care about hardware side of thing, i.e., no support for hardware. In other words, the cell phone manufacturers were responsible for its products’ BIOS updates and Android OS updates. First, if the manufacturer had no plan to provide that, there was no way to update the phone. Second, even if it was provided, it was hell to update an Android phone without knowing much about firmware, flash BIOS, data back-up, and more importantly whether a newer version of the Android OS was compatible with the hardware (Last check, I think this is still the case with any Android phone. Honestly, I have no idea which version is the latest OS, and which phone comes with which version of the OS: buyer beware!) Now, you understand why I switch to the iPhone. True, it’s a closed system, but for average users, knowing less isn’t better than knowing more? For we just want to use the phone!

Why iPhone? everything is smooth and easy, and no tinkering under the hood. I turned it on, within second I know how to use it (perhaps because I had a iPod Touch before?!). The icons are intuitive, fast to the touch, apps open without delay, no freeze, quick re-boot… the list goes on. Yes, before iOS5, you have to plug it into your computer and sync with iTunes, but it might not be a bad thing, cause it forced you to back up your data. That’s not the case with an Android phone, you don’t backup, you lose!… everything, if you have to restore to default.

Final words: test drive the smart-phones before you settle on your favourite!

Cheers.

Acer Aspire S3 @ Costco Markham

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Just saw the Acer Aspire S3, a new line of ultra slim notebook that looks like MacBook Air. Based on my memory, it has a i5-2467m, and 4GB RAM. Interesting thing is that it has two drives, a 340GB hard-drive, and a 20GB SSD drive. I checked the My Computer; however, it only shows the C:\ drive of 280 GB (don’t know where is the other 60 GB), and I don’t see the 20GB SSD drive at all or displayed. Since I was in Costco, I couldn’t look into the BIOS to check the configurations. I think the SSD probably is used for the OS to enhance boot speed and operations. It’s priced at $899, $100 less than the base model MacBook Air with i5, 64GB SSD.

Last checked, Future Shop also has the model at $899.99.

It’s interesting and light, that’s all I will say.

Cheers.

Update: apparently the SSD is for waking up quickly after in hibernation mode; so not at all for quick boot, which would have been nice.

WiFi Router 101*

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If you just purchased a new WiFi router and has never used one before here are some tips I think will be helpful:

There are three essential things you need to do first*:

  1. Change the router admin password; i.e., the master control of your router
  2. Setup you own SSID, basically the name of your wireless network
  3. Setup a WPA2 password to connect to the WiFi router
Here are the whys:
  1. if you don’t change the router master password, someone like me who has done a few setup will know the default password, and if I were really mean, I could render it unworkable for you:99% true.
  2. Your own SSID gives you an identity, look at your wireless connection list on your computer that shows what wireless connections are available in your vicinity, I bet you will see a few D-Links,  defaults, … those are the ones that a unique SSID haven’t been setup. In fact, you may have been using someone else’s connection all along, or vice versa, if the SSID remains as “default” or “D-Link” and no password has been setup. Don’t forget your plan has download and upload limits,  hence you don’t want other people using your MB for free, do you? 
  3. WPA2 is pretty much the current default password encryption protocol. WEP, an earlier protocol, is easier to hack. (some devices may not connect with a WPA2 password protocol, like my Sony PSP, beware!) 
If you want to be even more secure, mac address restriction is the way to go. It restricts your assigned devices with known mac addresses to connect to the router, and no device-else.

Lastly, back to my 99%, in case your router was held hostage, you can always perform a reset to default (look for a pin-hole at the back of the router, and press it for 30 seconds: read manual). Then follow my instructions above. 

Cheers,

* I know the vendor usually supplies a CD for installation, I find that if you don’t follow their instructions to a tee, it may not work properly, and causes frustration. Try CD first and use my advice as a back-up solution. 

BTW, to connect to the router, it is either 192.168.0.1 (D-Link) or 192.168.10.1 (Trendnet), best check your router manual. 

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Static IP address for my printer ***

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*Setting up Static IP address for your printer: Do this in your router. To connect it’s either 192.168.0.1 (D-Link) or 192.168.10.1 (Trendnet), best check your router manual. Type the 192.168.0.1 directly into your browser, treat it as URL. Your manual will tell you what is password, the userid should be admin. (make sure you change the admin password if you have a new router, cause default is standard for same model, i.e., if your neighbour has one like my DIR-601 and I didn’t change the admin password, he can tinker with my router !!!) Yes, it’s kinda technical. Ok, once you get in, you will see all sort of setting options. In my D-Link, I want Network Settings. Toward the bottom, you will see Number of Dynamic DHCP Clients (this tells you how many devices are using your router, if you have your desktop and printer connected wired or wireless, two items will show up, if you see 3, someone is snooping!) Each device has a Hardware Address or mac address, it looks like a8:7o:01:8c:1c:8a, the specifications sheet that come with your device should have that number, or google to find out how to locate the mac address of your particular device. Almost there! D-Link makes it easy, in Add/Edit DHCP Reservation select your device using the drop down menu, and use Copy Your PC’s  Mac Address and click save. All that is to assign a specific IP address for your device. In other words, every time you connect to the router, the printer will be 192.168.0.102 (if that’s what you setup). Lastly, each device, iPhone, WIFI stick, Laptop WIFI, PS3, etc will have its own IP address for that connection session, if you haven’t setup static ip for each one of them, i.e., the router assigns one as it connects. Play around and you will understand this concept better.
Cheers.   

Brother HL-2170W monochrome laser printer****

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I tried again with the wireless feature of the printer, but had no luck. I read that Windows firewall might be the culprit. Instead of investing in more time to get it running, I continue to hook it up with ethernet cable, at least it is networked (so I can print from my laptop or netbook),but not wireless.

However, after I made some changes to the router, D-Link DIR-601, settings, it stopped to print. The error was print error, job cannot complete, or something like that. After many Ts & Es, I finally get it to work with all the settings I made in the router: Auto-configure IPv6 (It’s a newer standard than IPv4) and adding Primary and Secondary DNS Addresses using OpenDNS (including this will find searches faster, especially when you type in some weird words using your search engine) . 

Apparently, I need to change one configuration inside the printer port connection. How to get to that:

  • Start/Devices and Printers
  • Select printer HL-2170W (should be your default)
  • Right click for extended menu/Printer Properties
  • you will see tabs General/Sharing/Ports/…/Tray Settings
  • Click on Ports, a check mark should already be placed for the port your printer is connected
  • Click on button Configure Port…in Printer Name or IP Address, type in the Static IP address you have assigned for your printer (this is crucial because the computer will automatically use the printer name, instead of the IP address, which stops the print job from printing) 
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