Thoughts

It tweets while you sleep

My eyelids were twitching. Not in the way when someone tells a lie. While I attempted to sleep the other night it felt like they were clicking along like a typewriter, recording the dreams. It was odd. I had something similar happen to me some years back. I’d listen to music almost constantly through out the day. At night in an attempt to calm my mind down, I would imagine a giant iPod in my head. I’d give this massive click wheel a spin, and whatever artist it landed on…I’d start playing through one of their songs in my head. I use to test myself to measure the accuracy. Perhaps there was a band I would be afraid of? Nope. Never a hesitation.

The other night I had clicking eyelids. I need to learn to manage information in smaller chunks. The eyelid culprit was Twitter. I’ve had a blog for a while, and explore other nooks and nuances on the web, but never this type of…uh…what do you call it? Micro-blogging I guess.

140 characters to say as much as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want. It’s endless, and because it’s all text-based any number of Internet URLs, pictures, YouTube videos, and so forth can be shared. Yes it’s my foot in the door of social networking, since I’ve been on a diet or sorts. (A while ago I cut all contact to social networks.) It gave me time to look and see how I promote myself.

Why the sudden revelation with twitter? I heard about this service in the early 2000s. I shrugged it off and thought, well it’s just like having a dedicated Facebook status site, right? Maybe, but I find comfort in the fact you have a certain amount of anonymity. You can post a tweet (140 characters to say something profound), and that’s it. There is no ‘like’ button. Hooray! You won’t find lazy urchins pressing one button to say you did a reasonable job, and then bugger off.

Maybe it’s because I write incessantly that this has grabbed me. However, I always like to find a meaning behind my online ramblings. Today I’ll leave you this pearl of wisdom. Set aside time for social networking. You won’t want to get the same twitching eyelid syndrome, it’s not fun. Plus, it scares the ghosts away.

PhilosopherPoet

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Reviews, Technology

How to Spot a Fake iPhone 4S (revised)

I’d like to give you a few tips, if you are looking to buy an iPhone 4 or 4S abroad. Maybe you want to buy it through a friend or website selling second-hand products? I’ve often seen people pay either the full price (or very close to the retail price) for iPhone knock-offs. Here I will attempt to educate the ignorant and clear up the details.

This post is a re-working of the previous post I did which caused a lot of debate (partly because I supplied a few incorrect details.) I have broken it up into two sections namely Hardware and Software differences. I’ll refrain from showing the fake I was handling, but rather talk about the nuts and bots of it all. Before I go on… there are two definite ways to spot the difference:

  1. Does the iPhone in question plug into iTunes and transfer information seamlessly?
  2. (Provided you are certain you have an original iPhone with you at the time). Compare the response time of both retina displays. This is everything from the loading time of the applications, the response time of the Home Button, and the fluidity of the applications moving when you slide your finger to the left or right of the screen.
    • A simple example I often use is to display a picture (in the photos app) on each phone. Hold the both phones in portrait view (not necessarily at the same time), then briefly rotate each phone to the landscape view (i.e. turn it from a vertical to a horizontal position.) What you are looking for is the time it takes each picture to spin from portrait to landscape. For the most part the phony iPhones take a lot longer due to the software being different, and most likely the design of the three-axis gyro is pretty poor.

NOTE: For the sake of additional confusion, when I refer to the iPhone 4S I am also talking about the iPhone 4. Both phones have a few differences if you look with the naked eye. When it comes to the physical look and feel of both phones (putting the retina display and 8 megapixel camera aside) they are identical. Put it this way… if I were to turn off both the 4 and the 4S and place them down beside each other. There is only one small give-away that tells you which is the 4S and which isn’t. If you know the answer to this fact, please post it in the comments field. I want to continue to stay on the initial topic.


Hardware Differences

Micro-SIM Tray

Surprise surprise. The iPhone doesn’t take an ‘old size’ SIM card. This means you have to trundle off to you mobile (cellular) service provider and get a new and smaller SIM card. Don’t be a self-righteous ninja and cut the SIM card you already have, to fit into the smaller tray. Not many people get it right, and also if you do you are more likely to jam the SIM tray and cost yourself more money. In my experience it takes far less time and frustration getting the correct size SIM card, than dealing with a home-made MacGyver job that won’t last forever.

If the back of the phone (the part that isn’t the screen) unclips and allows you to insert a SIM card, it is definitely a fake. The iPhone 4S has a micro-SIM tray on the right hand side of the device that pops out (Assuming that the phone is facing you head on with the home button – the round one with the square on it – being at the bottom of the screen).

Rear End

This is the part of the iPhone that is directly behind the screen. With certain counterfeit models, the back of the phone will have a small rectangle showing the size (in Gigabytes). You will never see this on an iPhone 4S. All iPhone 4 and 4S models don’t tell you the hard drive size. The only two ways to tell is to look on the back of the box it came it (provided the box isn’t counterfeit aswell), or go to Settings > General > About and this will tell you the capacity of your device.

Packaging

If you do get an iPhone from a dubious source (i.e. not from an Apple Store, or an authorized reseller) then you need to scrutinize the packaging. If the owner of the phone only hands you the phone, insist on examining the box it came on.

I’ve done this myself out of interest’s sake, and often some telltale signs emerge. The box may say iPhone 4S, and even have the picture of it. When you turn over the (phony) box you will even see someone has had time to print the specifications.

Turn it over again and carefully examine the picture. Often if it’s a hasty job done by a laser-jet printer the image will be slightly pixelated and blurry. Upon looking at the specifications again look at the sharpness of the font. Check the alignment of the information on the rear-end of the box. A few times I’ve seen that the information has been printed out, but whichever tried to fake it, stuck the serial number, model number, IMEI number, etc on skew.

Universal Dock

If you’ve owned any iPod in the past you’ll notice it’s the fat piece that plugs from the bottom of the device into a docking station or into your computer. (The cable that plugs from the bottom of your iDevice into the USB port of a computer is sometimes called a Sync Cable. If you are familiar with the one end of the Sync Cable, then you may be familiar with the port on the iPhone I’m talking about.) Take the iPhone 4S you’re about to buy and make sure it fits into a docking station. If you’re unsure about this, ask a friend for a iPod cable and make sure it plugs into the bottom of the device.

Software Differences

Retina Display (screen)

The term ‘retina’ display you’ve heard a lot of if you’ve been researching or just following Apple products in general. This is a fancy way of saying that the clarity and sharpness of the resolution is ultra high, and mind-blowing. The screen on the fake iPhone 4S is smaller in physical size.

I found that the interface wasn’t very responsive to my finger. I haven’t included a picture of the interface, but I found it took at least 3 seconds before the interface responded to touch. (This was an experience of a poorly thought out replica.) Take time to play with the applications. The apps should launch pretty much 0,25-0,5 seconds after you’ve pressed it. Less technical people would call this instantaneous.

Camera

If you can, also test out the camera. Remember the iPhone 4S has both. Test them. Take a picture. View it. Make sure you can zoom in on it about halfway, without the picture being distorted or grainy. If you’re smart you’ll email that picture to yourself and examine the quality.

Keep in mind that this article contains many technical aspects and gestures the seller may not allow you. Whenever I’ve bought something shitty, most of the time it’s because I rushed into it. Check and double check all the details of the phone.

Apps

Sometimes people leave apps and other personal information on their phones. This is tiresome if you want to start using it, and Aunt Maggie keeps popping up in your contacts. If you have already discovered the iPhone is authentic, ask the previous owner to wipe the iPhone clean.

There are two easy ways to do this.

  • Plug it into iTunes and click Restore (under the Summary tab).
  • On the iPhone go to:

Settings > General > Reset (located at the very bottom) > Erase All Content and Settings

Conclusion

Do your research. Many mistakes are made when the consumer fails to look into a product enough. This is most essential when it comes to technology. You don’t want to be stuck with a toaster that’s talking to you in an Middle Eastern dialect, it’s about time you use Dear Google or RTFM.

PhilosopherPoet

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Rantings

Cramming that difficult gap

People are born with holes in them. Nothing visible, with blood flowing from it, but in a mental sense. I work in retail, and many Sundays I spend watching families shuffle through the mall at a semi-conscious pace. Usually the teenagers are in tow with iPods glued into their heads.

I think perhaps we are frightened to be alone with ourselves. So we need the stimuli. Something visual. Something in blister-packaging. Something you’ll put on the shelf and smile at for an hour. You slowly sink into the sofa, allowing the electronic hum of the television to lure you to sleep.

I’m quite radical. I don’t own a TV. I remember my one land lady’s eyes bulging out in horror. I had crossed a social taboo of sorts.

“How do you follow the news?” she asked.

“I buy the paper.”

I explained that TV just makes us lazy and we end up watching pointless programs that we didn’t invite it. I think I’ll make that a rule in my house. Vampire Logic. No demon, sprite, winged or web-footed creature is allowed in my house unless you have the decent to request permission.

I suppose this is the British form of restraint coming out. We have to learn to hold ourselves together…stop…and listen once in a while. Just like to have to ask to enter my house, when in company you should treat silence as a person. Give silence a chance to show herself before you drill opinions into our heads.

This is a slightly angry rant at the bull dozers of quiet company. We need to stop our yammering, complaining, and whining. I’ve listened to too much of it. Most people that moan about a problem have considered making a difference…and that is our weakness.

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Philosophy, Rantings

The Age of the iPod

Nowadays we’re living with a huge amount of noise. This is a very loose way of saying that we’re bombarded with technology, and let’s not forget the advertising and subcultures that go with it. It’s hard and confusing, but if you can master the technology of today, then you and I are open to endless possibilities.

Ever since the iPod and various other media devices became a norm, people have been obsessed with music and now anyone from a teenager to a middle aged father is listening to music. It’s a great thing to know that you can carry your whole cd wallet in a little pouch that is lighter than your actual wallet where more crucial information is stored. But also your wallet has become a little less relevant to how you want to feel about life. Your wallet has now become a product of the noise of our generation.

Balancing noise and narcissism

A while ago I was talking to a Doctor at my work. He told he doesn’t like technology at ALL. He told me that it’s made us removed from the world and with what’s going on. Although he’s not entirely correct, I’m forced to wonder how much of what he’s saying is actually true. One tragedy about an iPod is that it can cause us to introvert. One out of every ten customers I deal with, I don’t approach and ask them for help since they’re glued to the music on their belt, and simply want to waft in and out of the shop, in their music and their own thoughts. It gets on my nerves because I’m unsure if they want help, or they want to just be left alone instead.

I also understand them, because I’m a natural-born metal head and some days I enjoy the idea of simply plugging into a great album and forgetting about everything else for a while. So is this Noise (in the positive sense of the word) or blind Narcissism that’s provoking us?

It’s both to be honest. I don’t see life as an ultimatum, because that would be cruel and unfair to my own morals. The Greek legend of Narcissus is still a powerful one, so here is the story:

[Narcissus] in Greek mythology, the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Leiriope; he was distinguished for his beauty. His mother was told that he would have a long life, provided he never looked upon his own features. His rejection, however, of the love of the nymph Echo or of his lover Ameinias drew upon him the vengeance of the gods. He fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring and pined away (or killed himself); the flower that bears his name sprang up where he died. According to another source, Narcissus, to console himself for the death of his beloved twin sister, his exact counterpart, sat gazing into the spring to recall her features.

The story may have derived from the ancient Greek superstition that it was unlucky or even fatal to see one’s own reflection. In psychiatry and especially psychoanalysis, the term narcissism denotes an excessive degree of self-esteem or self-involvement, a condition that is usually a form of emotional immaturity.

Narcissus. (2009). Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.

In short we have a man who is forced into a period of water-gazing because of external factors in the environment. Our fallen hero has now become blinded by what he sees. In my opinion you could replace the harmless bowl of water, with an iPod, for our generation. It would seem absurd to argue that an iPod could actually kill someone. I won’t even make that statement for fear of living with the consequences and court cases. It is a strong example of how too much of a good thing could be detrimental to what we are unaware of.

An iPod at best can make us look antisocial, angry, happy, relaxed, meditative and internally engaged with ourselves. How then can we listen to music without breaking social barriers? My advice is to keep your life (and what you listen to) to two big containers.

The Two containers

The first is labeled ‘Online’ and the other ‘Offline’. These terms can be translated as Public and Private Life. Although society may try and merge these two categories, I think that is important we keep them (for the most part) separate.

So when you are at home, or in your car, or any other private space, that would be a good time to listen to your iPod. Although if you are in any kind of public place I would suggest that you whip it out of your ears, and engage with your external environment. This may seem like a massive shock to an introvert who is terrified of talking to people, although I still think it’s important. The only small exception I’ll add to this list is if you use an iPod for exercise. So if you are running down the road or going to the gym with an iPod plugged into your head, you should keep it there so you can continue pumping iron and jogging. If you don’t (when you’re in a public space) and you keep listening to a song of yours, it may seem fine, but you would be missing out on an opportunity to talk to your external environment.

Next you get the internet which is an equally vital part of our culture. So should we allow ourselves to become Offline with regards to the internet? Well, I’m afraid that the ball is in your court on this one. With software like Facebook and MySpace, we feel a great deal safer to be open about what we think and feel. Tread with caution, for once you have stuck your feet into the electronic river of information, is virtually impossible to get away from it.

If you are, like myself, addicted to burrowing into the corners of the internet, then for goodness sake research exactly what you are burrowing into! I have a very active mind, and I’ve always made it a habit of mine to investigate my own behaviors. For example in high school I started listening to heavy metal, much to the horror of my parents, and from then on I decided to read numerous articles on the internet. Some would be album reviews, while others would look at metal as a whole (from its birth with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath) right up to the present day (with names like Metallica, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth and Korn) swarming the charts.

On the same topic I’ve read books and articles on the blogging and Facebook so I feel satisfied with what I’m getting into. If in doubt of what to do next, research your subject in question.

The River of Creation and Chaos

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus argued that you cannot step into the same river twice. The reason is that he argued that river is in flux. So try to picture the Greek symbol for infinity which is our numerical symbol for 8, which has been pushed on its side. The river, like the symbol for infinity, is never-ending…hence the word ‘flux’. The river we may swim in may last longer than our existence on earth does. The reason for this is because that’s just the way it is. It’s a form of energy that never stops.

What does the saying mean then? Well, every time you dip your foot into the river, you are in different particles of water, because the river is constantly flowing. You can then argue that we experience the river differently every time we immerse ourselves in it, because some time has passed since when we last dipped our foot in, and at the same token, we may be older people (if even by a few minutes) compared to our initial encounter with the river. Now consider the internet… 😀

In philosophy there are three questions we start off asking ourselves, to stimulate our minds.

– Why are we here?

– Where have we come from?

– Where are we going?

It’s a tough one to consider; now if you ask the internet those same questions (by replacing ‘we’ with ‘you’) then the outcome is equally flabbergasting. The internet is an unknown river to most of us. We will just find one small spot where we enjoy swimming and make use of it! So as an ‘iPod generation’ I think that we should choose to embrace this river that, like it or not, we’re bound to come into contact with.

It may not always be what we’re expecting, but it gives us a sense of peace and solace in a strange way. So even if you haven’t read up on the river you’re dipping into, and are feeling a little nervous about it, just be aware of it, and a little research is always a good idea. 😉

PhilosopherPoet

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