Over the past 3 years Apple Inc. has taken the heat on pushing the adoption of the W3C standard, HTML5, for all web based development. They have even been taken to court for not allowing competitor's technology (Flash) on their platform (iOS). Recently to avoid any more blame for flaws in these 3rd party technologies, they have stopped pre-installing them on all hardware products they ship.

Now the companies behind these other technologies are showing signs of support for Apple's directions. Are Microsoft shifts away from Silverlight and Adobe announcing the HTML5 Video Player widget indications that Apple rivals in the HTML5 war are finally given up?

This recent Microsoft decision is in line with their statement 4 years ago stating that, what they had done with Internet Explorer for the past 6 version were wrong and IE8 is the start of HTML5 compliancy.

Recently Microsoft released beta version of IE9 at PDC, which will be even more compliant with HTML5 than any previous versions of Internet Explorer.

The mess that are current web sites is really the fault of Microsoft. For creating browsers (IE) that are too tolerant of HTML coding mistakes and non-conformation to the HTML standards. Microsoft also provided web developers with technologies (ASP, etc.) and tools (.NET) that are not W3C standards. Along with the prevalent of Microsoft technologies in the 3rd world countries, these created a low cost labour force that further propagates non-standards web sites and applications. Fortunately with Apple's and other members of W3C efforts web site and applications owners are finally demanding HTML5 compliance.

Microsoft's statement about HTML5 is not to say they are abandoning Silverlight, Silverlight is still the development environment for their Windows 7 Phone platform. What they are saying is that HTML5 is Microsoft's future directions for true cross platform compatibility. This is a significant message to all web site and application owners. In the past these owners are only focused on the platform [Windows] they felt majority of the computing users are using. Now they are told that if they want to future prove their products and services they should focus on HTML5.

As for Adobe, they are not giving up on Flash either. They released the HTML5 Video Player widget because their users [developers] are demanding ways to be compatible with the iOS platform; it being the largest consumer of HTML5 content at the moment. I'm sure they are also aware of the efforts YouTube, Vimeo and others are doing to make their respective sites compliant with HTML5. One of the largest video sharing site, YouKu, serving the largest population in the world made their site compatible with on the iOS platform in July this year.

In the same month, we saw one of the largest online business migrating to HTML5; the porn industry. The adult film studio Digital Playground announces it will convert its mobile sites to HTML5. History teaches us that when the porn industry puts its supports behind a technology all competitive technologies will eventually disappear. Case in point is the VHS and Beta video cassette tape format war.

If you know me I am a strong proponent of standards compliance, I first express my opinions publicly with my article Compatibility. So I am very happy to see HTML5 is showing signs of wining the war. This will results in better build web sites and applications in the long run. Content will finally be separated from the technologies they are served in. How? I will leave this as a topic for another article.

Everyone who are new and seasoned users of the Macintosh. Seeing that Apple had finally released the long anticipated OS 10.5.7 update. I want to once again reiterate the steps I normally take for applying OS X updates. Before you start, if you're using a notebook Mac, you should ensure the power adapter is plugged in (of course to the wall also).

Here are the steps I recommend my friends to follow:

  1. Ensure all your Apple applications; the ones that came with your Mac, are in their original locations, within the Applications and Utilities folders respectively.
  2. Start the Disk Utility application found in your Utilities folder, and perform the Repair Disk Permissions operation on your startup disk (aka. Boot Up drive); this is normally the first drive you see in the list of hard drives. The "Repair Disk Permissions" button will stay dimmed unless you highlight the volume of your startup disk rather than the disk itself.
  3. Ensure no applications are running. If you really want to be safe you can restart your Mac in Safe mode, but this is rarely necessary, especially for a dot-dot update.
  4. Mount the .DMG file of the OS 10.5.7 Combo Updater you downloaded from Apple and begin performing the update.

It is best, if you do not use your Mac during the execution of the update. Of course, you should not interrupt the update either.

If anything goes wrong, you can always rerun the Combo Updater. I hope this helps!

Posted
AuthorVinko

iPhone 3G imageRecently a friend of mine commented that my articles (posts) on the iPhone and its usage in Hong Kong are very helpful, but they are a bit technical for layman user like himself. So, for the sake of helping as many potential iPhone users understand what's involved before committing to a purchase of an iPhone in Hong Kong, I decided  to summarize some key points here.

  1. All iPhone sold in Hong Kong are "carrier unlocked". That means you can take the iPhone purchased through legitimate channels1 straight out of the box, place a carrier SIM2 card in the phone and the it will work.
  2. You should not use any "carrier unlocking" software (like Yellowsn0w from the iPhone Dev Team) on iPhone 3G sold through legitimate channels in Hong Kong, because of point #1.
  3. When the say "iTunes" this is the application that manages the synchronization of your iPhone with your computer and all your music. Where as "iTunes Store" is the online store where Apple sells3 music, videos, audiobooks and iPhone applications. The section that sells iPhone applications is called the "iTunes App Store".
  4. All iPhone 3G sold in Hong Kong requires activation, this is accomplished by connecting it to iTunes, and logging into iTunes Store. So a free iTunes Store Hong Kong account is required. No longer requires an iTunes Store Hong Kong account.
  5. Even if you do not want to pay for any iPhone applications from the iTunes App Store you will have to provide a valid Hong Kong credit card to create an account in the iTunes Store Hong Kong.
  6. All carrier plans have limitations on the type of data traffic included. Therefore you need to be very specific with the sales person when choosing your data plan. For example, Smartone-Vodafone "IOM Value Pack" data plan only covers "web browsing traffic". It is hard to know what they mean by "web browsing", but it does not cover traffic generated by the built-in iPhone Mail application, and 40% of the traffic generated by iPhone 3rd party applications. Details of choosing a plan can be found in my post Is Smartone-Vodafone’s IOM Value Pack Right for iPhone?
  7. Unlocking and Jailbreaking software are easily available from iPhone Dev Team for FREE. At this stage, because the procedure is so simple, I would not pay anyone to do either for your iPhone (whether it is a 2G or 3G version) purchased outside of Hong Kong, unless you really have a phobia of technology.
  8. Jailbreak means to hack the iPhone so that you can install Apple unauthorized iPhone applications onto the phone. Jailbreaking does not include unlocking.
  9. The term "Carrier lock" means the iPhone is only usable on a particular mobile phone carrier's network and SIM card. So "Unlock" means to remove this restriction, and performing an Unlock will include Jailbreaking. Also see point #2.
  10. All iPhones sold outside of Hong Kong usually requires a 2-year contract commitment with the Apple's carrier partner. In most cases if an iPhone is not activated within 30 days the difference is charged to the purchaser's credit card. So you should think twice before asking a friend to purchase an iPhone for you overseas.

1 Legitimate channels as of this writing are: Three ("3") carrier outlets, or Apple Hong Kong Online Store. [Update: February 28, 2009] All Apple Authorized Resellers.
2 The mobile SIM card needs to support GSM frequencies 850, 900, 1800, 1900 or 2100MHz
3 iTunes Store in Hong Kong only sells iPhone Apps as of this writing.

Apple logoBefore heading to bed, I thought I give everyone a quick summary of the keynote at Macworld 2009. Apple announced three new things: iLife '09, iWork '09 and a new MacBook Pro 17" plus two iTunes Store updates. The latter being the immediate availability of 8 million DRM-free tracks on iTunes Store worldwide and OTA (Over-the-air) iTunes Store purchase on the iPhone.
All four components: iPhoto '09, iMovie '09, GarageBand '09 and iWeb '09, of the suite received a refresh. With the most significant being the new sort by Faces and Places features of iPhoto, and the tutorials of GrageBand. All of this for USD79.00.

Again all three components: Pages '09, Numbers '09 and Keynotes '09, received a refresh. With the significant improvements being: Pages '09 with its full-screen view, easier formula creation and more templates to choose from in Numbers '09, Keynote '09 has more automated transition creation, new theme, plus a paid iPhone App (USD0.99) for controlling the Keynote presentation on your Mac. Alll this for USD79.00. With iWork, Apple is also launching iWork.com, which requires iWork '09 to try.

The new MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009) starts at USD2799.00 with:

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 6MB of L2 Cache
  • 1066MHz frontside bus
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics processor; 512MB of GDDR3 memory
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
  • Maximum video resolution 1920 x 1200 pixels
  • 4GB (2 x 2GB 1066MHz) DDR3 SDRAM, with a maximum capacity of 8GB
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA hard drive
  • SuperDrive optical disk
  • A brand new type of battery* (95-watt-hour lithium-polymer) that gives the MacBook Pro 8 hours of wireless productivity
  • One FireWire 800 port
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • Combined optical digital In/Out and analog line In/Out
  • Built-in iSight camera
  • Built-in omnidirectional microphone
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet
  • Built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi (based on IEEE 802.11n draft specification); IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible)
  • Built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • ExpressCard/34 port
  • Full size backlit keyboard
  • Multi-Touch trackpad
Optional features being:
  • 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 320GB 7200rmp SATA hard drive, or 128GB SSD drive, or 256GB SSD drive
* battery in the new MacBook Pro 17" is not removable.
All in all this is a bit disappointing to me, because I was hoping for a new Mac Mini with AppleTV features built-in.

Pwnage Tool logoOver the past year and a half I had assisted many people with the unlocking of their iPhones. Many more people ask me about unlocking. So instead of answering each of these people over and over again, I thought I post an article in my blog, which I can refer them to for more details.

  1. What Does iPhone Unlock mean? Many carriers around the world will "carrier lock" a cell phone that they had subsidized for their customers. To ensure the purchaser of the cell phone stays as a customer of the carrier after the purchase, the carrier will normally do two things:

    • Make the purchaser commit to a contract that bounds them to the carrier for a number of years (2 years is common). Of course the purchaser can break the contract, but there is usually a penalty to compensate the carrier for the subsidizing the cell phone.
    • Carrier Lock the cell phone to the carrier's network, meaning the cell phone cannot be used on any other cellular network in the world.

  2. Is "Carrier Unlocking" the iPhone Illegal? In most countries with consumer protection regulations it is not illegal, but I am not a lawyer so I will not attempt to advise you with this matter. If you are concern I suggest you seek legal advise in your local area.
  3. Is It Illegal to Use a "Carrier Unlocked" iPhone on My Carrier? In almost all countries there are some regulations that prevent the use of unauthorized equipments on a mobile carrier network. In Hong Kong the individual carrier is responsible for managing the OFTA license, and has the rights to disallow the use of any unauthorized cell phone on their network including the canceling of an individual's cell phone service for using an unauthorized cell phone.
  4. What is the Difference Between Jailbreaking and Unlocking the iPhone? Jailbreaking is to process of hacking the iPhone so that "unauthorized" 3rd party applications can be installed on the iPhone. Ever since the launch of the Apple "iPhone AppStore" it is less important to jailbreak, unless there are applications that one really need. For me one such application is BiteSMS. Unlocking includes jailbreaking and it is the process of hacking the iPhone so that it is not carrier restricted (carrier locked) to a particular carrier partner. As of this writing you can find a list of Apple worldwide carrier partners for the iPhone at Apple.com.
  5. How Do I Jailbreak/Unlock My iPhone? Since June 2007 there had been many methods to jailbreak or unlock the iPhone. First there were the 23 steps method, including the use of SSH client and various other manipulations of proprietary files on the iPhone. Fortunately, since then we now have simple programs like the Pwnage Tool from the iPhoneDev Team, who has been the major hacking group coming out with methods and software to "carrier" unlock the iPhone. If you have a 1st generation iPhone you can follow the guide at ModMyi.com for the 1G iPhone. If you have the iPhone 3G, you should follow ModMyi.com's guide for the iPhone 3G. The same site you will find Windows equivalent instructions for both versions of the iPhone.
  6. Can I Unlock my iPhone 3G? As of the writing of this post there are no software unlock method for the iPhone 3G. The only way to "carrier" unlock an iPhone 3G is to use a hardware unlock; tools like TurboSIM. I do not recommend this hardware unlock, since in many case it will damage the iPhone. The iPhoneDev Team claims to be making available a tool on New Year's Eve 2008 that will unlock the iPhone 3G, similar to the ease of use of the current Pwnage Tool. To prove that their method is successful and simple, they have released a video of this tool; code name "Yellowsn0w".
  7. What is the Best Carrier Plan for the iPhone in Hong Kong? Although, carrier plans changes almost monthly, like anything in Hong Kong, mobile carrier price plans (tariff plans) have been very competitive. Over this past year and a half I had examined most of them. You can read my findings of these mobile carrier plans analyzed from an iPhone user in Hong Kong's perspectives.

Apple announced in a PR that the coming Macworld 2009, held in San Francisco will be the last time Apple is attending MacWorld. Is this announcement that significant? With the buzz generated with this Apple PR, the Interweb has been buzzing all morning and through out the day with new articles speculating what this all means. With some even brought up conspiracy theories.

Here are a list of articles found on the Interweb so far:

To me this is an inevitable decision that is long over due by Apple and other large corporates. Apple had long omitted their attendance at CES, and earlier Adobe announce that they will not be attending Macworld 2009.

Large conferences like CES and Macworld are not suitable venue for them to show off their products, these sort of show are more suitable for SME and startups. Unfortunately, without the large corporates, consumers may not attend these shows. If the attendees do not show up the organizer will eventually have to shut the show down, the ones who will suffer the most are the startups and SME who relies on the traffics to these conferences to get their word out. For them I say they need to rethink their marketing strategies.

With this PR announcement, Apple has in effect drove in the last nail to the Macworld coffin. When Apple pulled out of the [US] East coast Macworld conference, the organizer had to eventually stop holding a conference on the East coast. This latest development should shut down Macworld once and for all after the San Francisco show in three weeks. Unless the organizer comes up with original tactics to keep the attendees and exhibitioners.

For the average consumers (Macintosh and Apple products users), I think the lack of a Macworld is a great lost. Although, Macworld is serving only "average" consumers in the San Francisco area, as there are not too many "average" (non-press, non-tech industry) users who flies to San Francisco just to attend Macworld; admittedly I did one year. Most of all Macworld also serves as an annual celebration for these consumers for choosing the Macintosh platform and Apple products in general.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion

Pwnage Tool logoApple released Mac OS 10.5.6 update on Monday (US PST). As always I would suggest everyone follow the instructions on the release notes plus use the Combo Upgrade to upgrade your Mac. Although, if you are the millions who owns iPhones that had been jailbroken and/or Unlocked, you need to stay AWAY from this Mac OS X update for now. It has been reported that this version of Mac OS X will not recognize hacked iPhones. Until either this report has been independently verified or until the iPhoneDev Team has a method to get around the problem, hacked iPhone users should stay avoid updating their Macintosh for now.

Please stay tuned here, I will update everyone as news develop.

[Update: December 17, 2008] The iPhoneDev Team has released a note addressing the issue reported regarding the problem with activating the DFU (device firmware update) mode for the iPhone, after the Mac has been upgraded to Mac OS 10.5.6. The next release of the iPhoneDev Team's Pwnage Tool is not expected until Christmas Eve (Dec. 31.2008), but there is no mention if this upcoming release will resolve the DFU problem.

[Update: December 19, 2008] Finally an Automator script that will perform the fix suggested by the iPhoneDev Team. This method will not require a layman to jump into Terminal and fuzz with the inner workings of the Mac.

I have yet to try this so will report when I have.

[Update: December 20, 2008] Now there are two solutions: one is to connect the iPhone to the Mac via an USB hub. The other is to replace the IOUSBFamily.kext with the version from 10.5. Someone had created an AppleScript to do this for you as explained in the iPhoneWiki forum thread.

Posted
AuthorVinko

It has been over two weeks since my first post, Phone Firmware 2.2 NOT for Hacked iPhones about the new iPhone firmware 2.2. Since then the famed hacker team iPhone Dev Team had quickly released 2.2.1 of its Pwnage Tool to correct the bug found back in late-November. I had also used this version of the firmware for two weeks and can safely report that it has indeed fixed most of the bugs found in previous versions of the iPhone firmware. Although, Safari still crashes when visiting certain sites (ie. Mashable.com), but that may have to do with functionalities on these sites; hard to say.

PS: please read all of iPhone Dev Team's notes before using the any of the tools released for jailbreaking and/or unlocking your iPhone 2G and 3G. If you do not read all the notes you may be sorry.

As rumored Apple has released the iPhone firmware 2.2 today. This is a warning to all users who had either jailbroken or unlocked their iPhone or iPhone 3G, this warning even goes for anyone using the iPhone 3G who had not done either, but may want to unlock in the future.

I strongly advice these users not to upgrade their iPhone firmware to 2.2 until the iPhone Dev Team had released an updated version of their PwnageTool.

This applies to the new version of iTunes 8.0.2 also, as we currently do not know if the latest version of iTunes will be compatible with jailbroken or unlocked iPhone and iPhone 3G.

I will update here when it is safe to upgrade your iPhone or iPhone 3G, please stay tuned.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categorieshack, iphone

Apparently Apple and Microsoft have took on the tactics that Coca Cola vs. Pepsi, and McDonald's vs. Burger King used back in the 80's. To be fair the first shot over the bow with their "Get a Mac" TVCs. Microsoft this year decided to spend USD300 millions on an advertising campaign to savage the poor image of Windows, brought on by the negative press towards its latest version of Windows named "Vista".

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On October 14th (US Pacific time) last week Apple had a press event at its Cupertino headquarters to announce the new line of MacBooks. Microsoft's attempts to steal the attention from the announcement by instructing its outside-PR firm to release a press message titled, "Why You'll Find Better Value in Windows PCs than Macs" in anticipation of Apple releasing a USD800 laptop.

Will these dirty tactics really going to sway the shopping habits and opinions of the average consumers?The one good thing as a result of the Coca Cola vs. Pepsi advertising campaign war were the many ingenious and clever commercials. Given the several TVCs from Microsoft in their campaign, it looks like their efforts is no match to Apple's outside-agency, TBWA Chiat/Day.

May be it is time for Microsoft to stop purchasing advertising agencies, hands-off on its advertising campaigns, and leave the agencies to inspire themselves into creating a campaign that is more appealing.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion