Bose QC15 vs Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b

 Apr 12th, 2014 

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We recently moved in a new building that has open offices. It get pretty loud sometimes with ~10 people in the same room. I wanted something that can isolate me from the noise and since I don’t like ear plugs, I decided on noise cancellation headphones. After reading some reviews I tried Bose QuietComfort 15 and Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b.

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Construction and case

Both headphones are well-built. However, ATH-ANC7b is made of better quality materials; it is sturdier and I bet it could take greater damage than Bose before breaking. Both sets have leather ear cups but the Bose ones are softer and more comfortable.

In terms of case, again the ATH-ANC7b case seems stronger; it is a rectangular case with rounded corners, nothing fancy. The Bose case has the shape of the headphones but I think that makes it less resistant to damage (more concave surfaces). Both cases have enough room to store an MP3 player, cables and extra batteries.

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Noise cancellation

This is the primary reason I got these headphones. Both of them need one AAA battery to cancel noise.

When enabled, the noise cancellation on ATH-ANC7b is pretty good. You can still hear human voices but it is able to cancel most of the background noise. The noise cancellation on Bose is… unbelievable. Enable it and you are locked in a bubble. No more noises, no nothing. It is actually scary how quite it gets – if you wear them without listening to music, you can hear the blood in your ears. But, just like ATH-ANC7b, you can still hear voices and non-background noise.

Music

I didn’t get these headphones for sound quality. Both, do a pretty good job at playing music with noise cancellation on. With noise cancellation off, Bose cannot play any sounds. It is astounding that such expensive headphones cannot be used as just headphones. That’s a very big minus for Bose.
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Part of my plan: Books (Update 1)

 Feb 16th, 2010 

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In December I was writing about my plan of reading 16 books. Today I offer a status of the plan and my impression about two books.

From that list I read “The Inmates are Running the Asylum” and “The Design of Everyday Things”. Actually from the last one I read just 3/4 because the the book is too theoretical (psychology) and, even though I like psychology, it was a little too boring much – don’t get me wrong, the author offers valuable information about the things used every day and how simple is/should be the design, but the mix of practical and theoretical has a wrong ratio.

However, the former book is absolutely fascinating. Alan Cooper shows that whatever has a computer is actually a computer (or at least has that complexity). He also shows that programmers tend to increase the complexity of the software in order to make the development easier or, just because they can and see this a challenge. One of the main ideas of the book is that programmer cannot design simple software; they always design software that is supposed to be used by people with a lot of technical knowledge, who enjoy complicated things. Cooper’s suggestion is that developers should create software that is as simple as possible to operate, for the end user and, usually, the design must be made by a designer (a person who is able to understand how an experienced person will act).

Currently, my attention is on “Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman”. The book has a nice introduction about the first years of Richard Feynman’s life, but things may change as I progress with the lecture. I postpone any conclusion until I read the last page of the book.

Handy Backup Review

 Oct 26th, 2009 

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The worst thing can happen is to loose all you the pictures you made in the last 2 years or all the customer information you gathered in the last 5 days. These kind of scenarios can happen to anyone and unless you create a duplicate of your data (a backup) you cannot recover it. There are many ways in which data can be accidentally destroyed:

  • Hardware failure
  • Software failure
  • Accidents (fire, water, earth quake)
  • Theft

Handy Backup from Novosoft is a solution that can help in this unfortunate situations (if is used prior to those events :) ). Unlike most other backup software out there, Handy Backup doesn’t treat your data like faceless chunks of memory. As quickly and efficiently as o2 broadband, it gets the job done while treating your data with care. It features a complete, extensible plug-in-based system and a variety of plug-ins designed to back up settings, playlists, tweaks and preferences. New plugins care be created with basic XML knowledge.

HandyBackup04

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Office 2010 Web Apps

 Oct 17th, 2009 

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Most of you know Google Docs (GD) – the web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and form application offered by Google. Probably in the attempt to remove GD’s supremacy and to promote their new Office 2010, Microsoft is preparing a free online version of Office called Office Web Apps.

For the Technical Preview four application are available: Excel, PowerPoint, Word and OneNote. Each of them tries to reproduce the aspect and the functionally of their offline big brother. For Office 2007 users, the interface is well known. In the top side we have a Ribbon bar, the middle part is dominated by the working area and to bottom is reserved for an optional status bar.

In order to use Office Live Apps you need to have a Live ID and a Skydrive account. All these applications integrate with Skydrive and this is a curious fact because I would expect to be part of Office Live [very strange decision!].

The interaction with the live apps is not really fluid because it has a delay, especially in Excel, when you work with formulas – it takes 3-4 seconds to see the result. I understand Microsoft’s wish for adoption and interoperability with any browser without any addon, of the new product, but I think that a Silverlight interface would improve the usability or at least some drag/drop support and a right click menu.

Excel Live

OfficeWebApps_Excel01Spreadsheets – this is Excel all about. The little brother of the offline version is, for the moment, limited to some basic spreadsheet operations. The are no more and no less then 3 sheets [does anyone know how to add/remove them?] on which you can put your data.OfficeWebApps_Excel04

The simple tools available are: text format (color, font, size) and cell format (color, text alignment, data type). There is support for part of the formulas in Excel and one can use cell references to add dynamic data. There is some support for external data sources but it seems that data can only be refreshed if already exists – one cannot add/modify a data source.

OfficeWebApps_Excel03Unfortunately there is no support for locked sheets, hidden sheets and data validation. If you try to open an uploaded document containing some of the previous you will get and error message for edit.

Excel Web Apps gets another minus because there is no support for diagrams/charts. It would be nice to have at least support for charts in a new sheet. Maybe in the next version?

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I am thinking to migrate my expenses Excel document in Skydrive (Office Live Apps) even though it is quite limited.

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HTC HD Review

 Oct 2nd, 2009 

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htc_touch_hd_versus_iphone_3gThere’s been a week since I am the proud owner of a HTC HD mobile phone.

The first WOW

The HTC HD is one of the greatest phones I ever interacted with. It is impossible to keep your “WOW” when you first see it. It has an huge 3.8” resistive touch screen which is the second biggest screen for mobile phones (Toshiba TG01 has 4.1”) and compared to an iPhone the display is really impressive. Also has a good resolution: 800×480.

The second WOW

The HTC HD looks really good and even it weights 146g, seems a light (or at least compared with my previous Toshiba Portege G900 that had 200g). It’s hard to believe that is only 1.2 cm thick and because of this, the phone gets conformable in one’s hand and you don’t notice that it has 11.5 cm height and 6.2 width.

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Windows Mobile 6.5 on Toshiba G900

 Jun 3rd, 2009 

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aboutBefore writing anything else I must warn all readers that changing the operating systems on your mobile will void the warranty. If the upgrade process fails the phone might be damaged and no service will fix that for free. Do it on your own risk and make sure the following list is satisfied:

  • Ask people about the ROM you want to install. Make sure it did not brake any phone.
  • The phone’s battery must be at least 50% charged (better 100%)
  • Make sure you have and UPS. Or a laptop with good battery because if you cancel the process after it started the results might be unexpected.
  • Make sure the USB cable is firmly connect and is not broken!

I cannot be made responsible for any damages caused directly or indirectly by this article.

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Panda Cloud Antivirus Beta Review

 May 14th, 2009 

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As we emerge more and more is a Software + Services world, Panda took advantage of this new wave and released the World’s first cloud antivirus solution.

The protection model based on a thin-client agent and server architecture which services malware protection as opposed to locally installed products. By combining local detection technologies with cloud-scanning capabilities and applying non-intrusive interception techniques on the client architecture, Panda Cloud Antivirus provides some of the best protection with a lightweight antivirus thin-client agent that barely consumes any PC resources.

Of course this S+S approach has advantages and drawbacks.

Advantages:

  • Always using the latest version of software and protection
  • Minimum impact on local resources
  • Detection of threats in less than 6 minutes (this is what Panda announced on the official blog)

Drawbacks:

  • Need of permanent Internet connection
  • Without Internet connection the protection is reduced

Panda Cloud Antivirus takes advantage of the cloud world and combines the information from all users in order to detect and stop malware. Using the so called Panda Collective Intelligence, a cloud-based test lab for malicious software, samples are collected, analyzed, categorized and, if needed, disinfection routines are created. Therefore the community becomes the lab. In this way there is no need for software updates, there is no virus definition database on the client computer and everyone has access to the latest protection.

Compared to other antivirus solutions, Panda categorizes local files from “real security risk” to “minimum security risk” and by this criteria the scanning engine prioritizes it’s tasks. There are three types of automatic scanning (as mentioned on the official blog):

  • On-Access Scan. This is the maximum priority resident scan that is applied only to objects which are truly a security risk in a specific point in time: files which are being executed or used. The file is intercepted, prevented from running and disinfected if found to be malicious.
  • Prefetch Scan. There are other elements such as files downloaded from the Internet which, while not being executed at a specific point in time, have a much higher risk and probability of being executed at any time. These files should be watched more closely than files which have barely any activity, as we can expect them to be executed, unpacked, copied or moved shortly. A Prefetch Scan basically launches an asynchronous local & cloud query on the file to scan it “as soon as possible” without impacting performance. Of course if any of these files is called to be executed, the file will be intercepted and an on-access scan will be applied to it.
  • Background Scan. Lastly a normal PC has hundreds of thousands of files in its hard drive. Most of these files are not executing normally and simply just “sit there” until either the use double-clicks on them or they are called upon by another process. These are considered the least dangerous files from a security perspective. Panda Cloud Antivirus will continuously run Background Scans on these in an asynchronous manner while the PC is idle, without impacting performance at all. Of course if any of these files is called to be executed, the file will be intercepted and an on-access scan will be applied to it.

In my opinion Read the rest of this post »

Google Chrome Review

 Sep 3rd, 2008 

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Google released their first browser: Google Chrome.

Below is a quote from Chrome’s website about their motivation of building a browser – probablly is just a nice invented story, most sure it is marketing behind :-)

At Google, we spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And like all of you, in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends – all using a browser. People are spending an increasing amount of time online, and they’re doing things never imagined when the web first appeared about 15 years ago.

Since we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if you started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build.

So today we’re releasing the beta version of a new open source browser: Google Chrome.

Even though it is a beta version it is quite stable and it has some interesting features. Some of them are described below.

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Toshiba Portege G900 Review

 Aug 9th, 2008 

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Some people want small/fancy looking phones, others want powerful phones, while others want both. I belong to the second category – I want a powerful phone and I don’t really care about the aspect. If you want a fancy looking or small phone, Toshiba G900 is not for you!

After almost two months of research I finally decided to buy a G900. I needed a new mobile phone but I also wanted some big screen in order to be able to navigate on the Internet without carrying the laptop with me. So what I was searching was:

  • Big screen
  • Wireless network card
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Touch screen
  • GSM support

Toshiba Portege G900 has all this and even more but with some costs.

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Firefox 3 Review

 Jun 18th, 2008 

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For those who don’t know, Firefox 3 Final was released today. As any new version of a software product it brings a lot of new, cool and improved features.

The first change that almost any Firefox 2 user will notice is the new graphic interface. This remembers about Internet Explorer 7 GUI at some point :) The icons where redesigned, the back/forward buttons were completely changed, the address bar has new features and more customization is possible.

Firefox 3 Interface

In my opinion one of the major updates is the Download Manager. Now downloads can be resumed even after you completely close Firefox (if the server supports this feature) – this was a feature I always wanted in Firefox.

Firefox 3 Download Manager

Firefox 3 AddressbarThe new address bar provides auto completion – when you start typing it displays results from browsing history and bookmarks. The links from bookmarks have a golden start next to them.

Also now it is easier to bookmark a link, just click the white start from its right and the bookmark wizard will appear. Taking about bookmarks, the bookmark manager was redesigned and offers integration with Foxmarks and similar bookmark-backup tools.

Remember when you have tried to zoom a page in Firefox 2 and only the text changed its size? Now when zooming the graphic elements change their size according to the magnification level.

Firefox 3 Zoom

If you think that’s all you are wrong. The addons manager was changed, now you can install some extensions directly from it and offers the possibility to view and enable/disable plugins (adobe acrobat, flash, silverlight, shockwave etc.).

Firefox 3 Get Add-onsFirefox 3 Plugins

What I’ve told until now are just visual changes. The guys from Mozilla said that the pages load faster, the memory usage was drastically reduced and web standards compatibility was improved  but I cannot confirm this because I’ve been using Firefox 3 for only 8 hours.

Also, I’ve found one bug but I think that it will be fixed soon by Microsoft. Even though I have installed Silverlight, Microsoft’s website cannot find this plugin and asks me to install it. :)

Firefox 3 and Silverlight

Overall, the new Firefox brings some new cool and useful features and I think that any Firefox 2.x or even Firefox 1.x (are there any? :) ) should update to this new version.