4S

Six months delayed…critics are disappointed. Apple just released the long awaited refresh of the iPhone yesterday.  For me: it’s an upgrade long overdue.  I’ll get myself one when it becomes locally available.  The dual-core A5 chip and longer battery life alone is a big leap (6 hours internet on 3G!).

The new Siri is interesting too. Conversational English as a voice command is a cool feature.  Questions like “Find me a Persian grill restaurant.” Will bring a search list of available Persian restaurants in close proximity with the combination of GPS, Google Search, and Maps.

Apple released the new iPhone 4S - out on Oct 14

The new dual-core A5 chip iPhone 4S

 

I’m sure the iPhone 4 owners are disappointed there’s not big enough reason for them to upgrade.  I think that’s Apple’s usual approach in releasing new products.  I always skip a generation of iteration before upgrading. I’m an iPhone 3GS user and the iPhone 4 wasn’t a big upgrade for me – the iPhone 4S is though.  I hope it gets to the Philippine market soon – I anticipate it can be bought in the market by end of 2011 or early 2012.

Go to http://www.apple.com/iphone for more details of the new iPhone 4S.

Workaholic

I’m not the kind that gets drenched of work to the point when I forget dinner – seriously, I am cranky when I skip meals why would I even forget about it?

Lately work eats a lot of my conscious time I’m turning into a workaholic…for good reason – I guess.  With the things that’s been going on in my day-to-day life it seems like work has become a comfort instead of the source of stress.  I’m not saying I don’t get stressed at work…it’s just my personal time has become too stressful I embrace the comforts of work to chill.  Ironic but that’s how it is. I think I need a long weekend alone to do some crazy stuff to relax and just let it go. Hmmm…

Post and post to Posterous

I got interested to Posterous when
I readseveral review articles about it. It’ post-by-email seems convenient and its auto post feature to wordpress, tumblr and twitter sounds like a food idea.

That said, I consider it under evaluation until i’m confident with its going-ons.

Running with a Five

Over a month ago I started using a Five. It’s a funny looking shoe. No, really! Everywhere I walk with it on people stare at my foot. It gets quite an attention (a conversational piece!) but besides its awkward look the FiveFingers packs more than it’s funky design.

I’ve used it on several runs and am surprised how comfortably natural it is. I’ve been consistently running under 7km/min (with 4 record Nike+ runs) compared to my erratic 8km/min to 10km/min since I started last year with a Merrel trail running shoes and a Nike trainer. What I’ve noticed, although I’m not a consistent runner, is how my gait improved my stamina – particularly my feet’s. With the different stride using a Five I don’t experience muscle pains in my 5k runs. My erratic run paces has been due to my frequent stops to catch my breath and ease the pain in my foot. I’ve done better back when I was a kid using only slippers. So what has made the difference?

It’s the complete motion control and making use of the natural springy arches of our feet. The arch support and high heel cushion of traditional running shoes keeps my feet from using it’s maximum performance. With the promise of great heel support I’ve also started to adapt to how I should run with the traditional running shoes. My heel goes first and that really hurts. Some runners may say to do it mid-sole first but that doesn’t really help either – it is still close to being a heel strike. With the FiveFingers I get to use my arches with gusto. Its 2-3mm sole protection is just enough to protect my feet but allows me to run with natural gait. I can’t explain it enough than just show you a video of the difference.

And here’s a video from Daniel Lieberman

It’d help if you could read this article too on how using a VFF allows for ‘recovering’ your natural gait.

So how does a VFF feel for someone switching from a traditional running shoe? When I got my KSO (Keep-Stuff-Out) wearing it was a new experience. It’s a snug fit. The 2mm sole protects my feet from pebbles on the road but still allow me to feel the road – even its temperature (hot, warm or cold).

My first run I have to adjust my gait a couple of times. Using traditional shoes for a long time had forced me to do a heel-strike run. Of course that hurts on a Five without the thick cushioning of shoes. After a minute or two I got used to it and finished a kilometer before stopping. Just as any first-time VFF user I got blisters on my toe fingers. Ouch! That shouldn’t stop any of you from trying it. It’s the natural coping ability of your body as it ‘re-learns’ running. On my third use I’ve never had blisters again – except on times when I forget to clean the soles from sand and small pebbles.

My Vibram Fivefingers KSO in Pagudpod

Walking around rocky trails is a free foot spa!

I use my KSO for when I get a chance to use it aside from running – when I’m not forced to use leather and/or casual shoes. I have used it for walking (especially on vacation tours), on a beach and for trekking. A word of advice – don’t use it if you’d be trekking on rocky trails with rocks the size of half your fists. You can still use a Five but you’d be slower than those with thick cushioning trek shoes.

The KSO (Keep-Stuff-Out) has velcro strap around your front foot and a breathable stretch mesh to “Keep Stuff Out”. The Classic and the Sprint is cool too but since I use my Five on almost anywhere I prefer to keep sand and dust off my foot. It’s wrapped by protective polyamide and Vibram’s TC1 rubber soles. After a month of using it it’s as if I’m not wearing anything at all.

Vibram Fivefingers KSO grey/black camo

Perfect for my new gray trek pants from Columbia

I’m glad Vibram opened a store here in Rockwell PowerPlant Mall I got myself a new grey/black camo. I’m practicing running for a 5K marathon later this month with fellow VFF friends (a couple of friends got convinced in using it 🙂 ). Will let you know how it goes.

Barefoot

I just got myself a Five, as is commonly known among barefoot runners. I was interested when I read about this a couple of weeks ago – that started from a friend who uses one. Tim Ferriss’ blog had me sold with the idea. Just looking at how different my toe stucks out in my feet last I remembered it since grade school shocked me.

Barefoot runners

Un-shod barefoot runners (look at the toe)

Shod foot

Shod foot (see how the toe deforms? ouch!)

It is unbelievable that millennia of evolution had to concede to shod culture – think of high heels as the worst impractical evolutionary shenanigan. Now I’m not entirely sure of how real it is but I decided to try it out myself and see first-hand results.

On a test run of my VFF KSO

I’ve been ‘warming up’ my KSO for the last two days. Just used it for a quick run earlier and will try to use them tomorrow on a scheduled run around the park near the office. I’ll blog about it in a couple of days of any progress and findings I get. I think I’m pretty late in joining the trend of barefoot running but I’m so interested I’d like to start a revolution of barefoot running locally in the Philippines (just as how my friend evangelizes about it to me before getting myself a pair 🙂 ).

Value your identity? Stay away from Yahoo!

Three of my friends had their Facebook account hacked in a span of a month.  How?  Their Yahoo! Mail was hacked.  They all associated their Facebook accounts with their yahoo mail.  My girlfriend is one of them.  I’ve told her many times to avoid using yahoo for anything that she values – e.g. social networking, credit transactions, etc.  Now I don’t have to say “told you so…” for her to learn from that mistake.

I’ve known for a long time that Yahoo is easily hackable.  Heck I can’t even believe that it is TOO EASY! If you have a hacked yahoo account and wanted to purge it of anything – you’d be out of luck.  I tried recovering my girlfriend’s yahoo account thru the same process a hacker can get hold of it.  Go to a Yahoo portal, click ‘Forgot Password’ or ‘Can’t access my account’ and you’re good to go.  That’s how easy it is.  You can just change the password with the steps provided in Yahoo!

Obviously it isn’t good enough to just recover the account and change its password.  I tried deleting her account thru Yahoo’s Delete steps shown here.  So I thought she’s in the clear from the hacker recovering access to her Yahoo account.  Guess what?! After you delete your account Yahoo! shows you this page.

Obviously a hacker can still recover your account within 90-days! What an idiot for Yahoo! to allow such FEATURE!

Obviously a hacker can still recover your account within 90-days! What an idiot for Yahoo! to allow such FEATURE!

I tried logging in with my girlfriend’s account with the wrong password.  And guess again! It doesn’t even make sure that I typed in the password it just asks me to verify if I want to re-active it and voila! I can open it again.  I still have 90-days to RE-ACTIVATE it as what Yahoo! says anyway.  A hacker can practically take over as long as he/she wants if needed…but for the real owner, you’d have no choice but to just wish hard the hacker won’t do more damage than what they already know – limited or not!

So for anyone using Yahoo! keep it for fancy un-important stuff.  Make sure you don’t keep confidential information in it.  I have a Yahoo! account but only for messenger – but I barely use it for important stuff anyway.  You’ve been warned!

P.S. Gmail is rock-solid in recovering passwords and even deleting accounts when the user decides to.  I just created a user in gmail to test it out.  The password recovery facility is so tight you can only recover it through a secondary email.  Deleting a google account will delete it instantly.  I can’t recover it in any way.

Drenched…

Playing in the rain used to be fun…

Today becomes one of the worst tropical storm in Metro Manila’s history.  Typhoon ‘Ondoy’ wreaked havoc across the Luzon island that caught residents unprepared.  Areas that never experienced flooding before today were clueless of what to do with the rising waters.  Major highways closed, business districts flooded, and the National Disaster Coordinating Council in disarray with rescue operations in gridlock. The capital is now in a state of calamity, while I just hope rescue operations can save the stranded folks on their rooftops and cars on clogged highways.

My prayers for everyone out there.

That Symbol

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually finished a book. I’ve bought a couple this year but only a few had me pass the middle mark – some have become insignificant after a few chapters while others starts too bland I lost interest before leafing through the third chapter.

The books of Dan Brown, other than being famous for its movie adaptations, have an adventurous plot much like the game of Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum. I think of it like a hike to a 2000 meter peak with deceiving paths – exhilarating, and the end becomes a dominating experience.

I’m just in the second chapter – I do hope to finish it soon despite the crazy schedule at work. I have to do this more often. The smell of a mint book is euphoric, an opium for the imaginative mind.

Flaming PHP with CodeIgniter

It’s been around 3 years since last I used PHP on a project. PHP5 was quite young back then that bulk of the frameworks I did was still on PHP4. Working on a new project requiring PHP5 and MySQL, I ventured to look for available frameworks for PHP5. (Frameworks are the “go to” design preference amongst developers for rapid development).

I found CodeIgniter to be a rich library of APIs and implements an MVC design very well. I always found web programming languages like PHP – even Perl – to be too procedural even at implementing web applications. Developing applications using the MVC framework makes designing and implementation easier – maintenance too. In Java, I’ve been a proponent of the Spring Framework. CodeIgniter is its counterpart in PHP.

So for those revisiting PHP and are more accustomed to implementing MVC design applications (I believe developers should pick this design over monolithic coding) should try CodeIgniter.

P.S. For secured applications, there are “plugins” available and I’m looking into Redux. Now if only there is a similar channel-security feature (https-to-http switching) in PHP then I’m set. 🙂


Shifting to 1Password…from eWallet

eWallet

eWallet

I had keeping myself from using 1Password over eWallet for the last 7 months.  I’ve got 1Password on a promotion last December and it was free.  I got 1Password for Desktop Mac on a MacTree (forgot the correct promo name) for free around that time too.  I’ve always liked eWallet but Illiumsoft’s downplay of the market on eWallet for Mac to be minuscule to that of the PC market leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  Foolish and stupid – for loyal customers like me.

I’ve been a regular user of eWallet since v3.0 on my Windows Mobile phones about 4-5 years ago.  I’d been happy with the user interface and usability of the password manager especially syncing it with a desktop companion on my Windows system.  I’ve shifted to a Mac platform less than three years ago.  Completely gone full Apple when I bought my iPhone classic and dumped my ETEN M600 Windows Mobile 2003 phone.  I was glad eWallet had an iPhone app later that year.  I’ve looked up the eWallet file I kept from my ETEN phone backup and loaded it to my iPhone. Voila! I got my eWallets back.

And that was just it.  I updated a wallet or two but never opened the eWallet app unless I’ve got an existing wallet that has never changed for over a year.  I had no way of syncing it to a desktop companion and have it backed up.  The eWallet I keep on my iPhone has become volatile that I wouldn’t depend on keeping my passwords on an app that I can’t look up to on more than one device. (Yes, the iPhone has backup utility.  But what if my iPhone breaks or gets stolen? How can I view my passwords now?)

I had been hoping that illiumsoft finishes their long-overdue promise to release eWallet for Mac but it seems like the release date gets pushed and pushed.  I’d understand their concerns as I am a developer myself but as a customer I see it as no full commitment.  Yes, the Mac market may be a fraction of the Windows PC market but can’t you count it with the number of potential users and sales you’d get from people they’d win over if they have a Mac desktop companion?  eWallet started with a small user-base and thrived from there.  Would it mean that maintaining a Mac version costs a lot more these days that they can’t put up time to have it released sooner? What’s with that?

1Password

1Password

It’s been nearly a year that I’ve waited for a desktop companion.  I’ve got 1Password for the iPhone and Mac that I can switch to.  I think it’s just but right that I’d switch now to have the convenience of syncing.  Here’s hoping that 1Password would improve usability of the user-interface – a minor user preference issue I can live with, not like the neutered syncing capability of eWallet with Macs.