Nov 7, 2008

Vienna

There's something charming in a good non-Disney sense of a word about being in Vienna. Measured, balanced living. Beautiful streets with lots of green (or as the case was for me this time -- covered in gold, red and brown colors of fall), buildings that each looks like it has just stepped down from the pages of fairy tales or is a materialization of Mozart's tunes. The smells of the city -- bratwurst here, Wiener mellange there. Sound of horse hoofs on cobble stones and bells of Stra├čbahn. There's no rush on the streets, but none of the laid-back Miditerrainian laziness you'd see in the south of Europe. Just enough of ordnung to keep things nitly organized, but not too much for any diversity to be seen a danger to stability of boredom.

Nov 5, 2008

iPhone me

I have not held myself back for too long after the official launch of iPhone in Russia. No more than a few days, in fact. As I promised to myself, I went to a shop and played with the 3G model for 15-20 minutes. The plan was either that, or Nokia E71. I liked my iPhone experience, hence the decision was made.

It has now been a bit over a month that I have been using the device. There are things I like, and things I hate.

I like overall package. iPhone feels very nice both in your pocket and in the hand, it is ideal size for the purpose -- any smaller, and the screen would be too small (something that would have bothered me on E71). Any bigger and the device would feel awkward when talking.

Having almost a desktop-quality experience always with you is also very nice. Your email, web browsing, news coverage, calendar always just a finger swipe away. A sad omission from this are notes an to-dos that one might manage within Mail or Outlook (if you don't own a Mac).

There's lots that can be picked up at the AppStore to further enhance the experience. From a multitude of calendar and to-do apps, to financial mamagement, astrological maps, and games. In fact, AppStore is one thing that quite a few of my jailbroken friends envy me for.

That said, there are things I can't get used to. In no particular order.

  1. Copy/paste. Yes, everybody's darling. One could get it to work by jail-breaking the phone and installing apps from Cydia,something I am still not planning on doing. So, for now my copy buffer (one of the things original Macintosh was so much praised for) resides either in my head or on a scrap of paper.
  2. Inability to send contact details. As a long-time Nokia user I am used to how easy it is to share contact details with your friends. Browse names, choose one you need, open it and choose "send business card" option. iPhone offers nothing like that by default and the apps I have seen in AppStore only email contact details, you can't SMS or beam them over Bluetooth.
  3. Battery. Yes, another gripe of many. Last thing I want is to ever get stranded with my nice XXI century toy full of bells and wistles lacking juice to make a simple call. I am almost onto the routine of daily charging, but there still were a couple of cases I was on red, looking for anything else I can shut off to conserve power.
  4. Editing text. Besides copy/paste debacle, it would be nice to be able to select large area of text to delete. Blackberry can do that, iPhone should as well.
  5. Crash, baby. Even Apple's own apps get shut down quite a bit. The most frequent offender is Safari (but it's also most used one). Either it leaks memory or OS is not doing a good job of garbage-collecting after it. Either at, it is annoying. I sure hope 2.2 firmware would improve on it.
  6. SMS limitations. Again, coming from Nokia background its taken as given that I should be able to check all details of messages I send and receive. I can't (or I don't know how) on iPhone.
  7. Photos. Can I please have a way, not on my Mac, on my iPhone to check when and where the photo was taken? And while we're there, maybe the basic set of editing functions (like color balance, crop, rotate, contrast and brightness adjustments) would be very cool.
  8. One last thing. Pun is intended. My old Nokia N80 supported task switching. It could also shut some apps down when memory was scarce, but I could still switch from a web browser to my contacts or a calculator without closing the browser.