The latest episode 30 of rebuild.fm was recorded yesterday with this, and here’s my quick thought.
The gain is pretty low on the Mac, the same as ATR-2100. I had to bump it up to 90% to get a decent level. As explained in the manual, you have to get really close to the mic (about 2 to 3 inches) and speak directly to the mic.
Explosives will be a problem if you use them a lot. Fortunately for me, when I speak Japanese, we don’t usually use much p’s. Some suggests they don’t need pop filters anyway.
Honestly I couldn’t tell much difference between Rode Podcaster and ATR-2100 in terms of audio. I mean, there is a difference, like Rode is more dry, and ATR is a bit more warm, but they both sound great. I guess it’s a very subjective matter after all.
However it is clear that Rode Podcaster records much less noise (as in hiss and electric noise, not the ambient noise) as compared to ATR-2100 using USB. Reviews suggest that this could be much improved if you use XLR interface with ATR.
Rode Podcaster is a dynamic mic, and unlike condenser it is less sensitive to the ambient noise. I was running an air purifier during the recording (forgot to turn it off) and i couldn’t hear it at all. However there are some cars running on the street across my apartment, and i could hear them, which i usually don’t notice when recorded with ATR-2100.
I was using the shockmount (PSM-1) on the Samson desktop stand, so when i use the keyboard and trackpad, the vibration didn’t get caught at all, which is really nice. (and that was exactly what a shockmount is for).
Rode Podcaster has a no-latency monitoring with the 3.5mm audio jack. This works a little different from ATR-2100.
With Rode, when used as an output device, the volume is fixed on the Mac side. You have to use each software (i.e. Skype, iTunes) volume to control the relative loudness, and then use the mic’s monitor knob to get it mixed with your own voice.
There’s no mute or input gain knob on the mic (Blue Yeti does).
With ATR-2100, the monitor knob on the microphone actually doesn’t do anything other than changing the OS X system volume. The input monitoring is off by default and I have to go into Audio MIDI setup to make a pass-thru. Even with that, the monitored audio is very low - it is certainly better than nothing, but not as useful to monitor my own voice.
Good audio, a bit dry voice, but clear and noise-free.
A little sensitive to ambient noise for dynamic, if not much as condensers
Not sure if this is worth spending extra $200 as opposed to ATR-2100 which is available for $45.
Little more useful monitoring than AT, if not perfect.
Shockmount and desk stand (or boom) is a good investment if you don’t wanna hurt your back.
So now i have to figure out if i want to keep Podcaster, or return and get a USB/XLR interface for ATR.
At the end of my trip to Japan, I bought a PS Vita TV for 9500 yen, with 32GB memory card for 4500 yen, after 1000 yen discount applied. The shop in Shimbashi kindly offered 3 month free subscription for PlayStation Plus as well, which I will talk about later.
This is a Japanese model, which is so far the only available model as I know, since the US model ETA is still up in the air.
It’s very small, even shorter than an iPhone 5s
Setup is easy, just connect via HDMI and put your Dual Shock controller with USB to pair
It doesn’t come with a controller, but there’s a bundle for it. I got mine from @drikin (thanks!)
The video output is 720p/1080i. Games with 720p doesn’t look so bad, but the menu UI is arguably ugly and you can see pixels when you put on a giant TV monitor.
So far I don’t see a region lock. Signing in with my JP PSN account seems to work with no problems. As with iTunes store, you probably need a credit card with Japanese billing address if you want to buy games from JP store.
This is basically a PS Vita with HDMI out and wireless controller. Except some games that require touchscreen or motion sensor, most of Vita games as well as PSP and archive games can be played on TV.
The Japanese PS Plus subscription gives loads of free play games for Vita, PSP and archives. I’m currently playing Stein’s Gate, Yuusha no kuse ni namaikida and LIMBO. With 500 yen ($5) per month, I love this Netflix model of gaming.
So far I’m happy with the purchase. My last game console was PS2, and I’m not a hardcore gamer with the current titles anymore. But I still want to play old titles time by time - This device allows me to play dozens of free games with monthly subscription, buy classic titles for $6-10 or even current Vita titles for slightly less than the package equivalent, download them onto the storage to play on TV.
When Nintendo announced something called “Wii mini”, i was hoping for something similar i.e. a console that requires internet and lets you play only Virtual Console and Wii Arcade titles. The actual product was the opposite - it’s a standard Wii without an internet support.
I’m skeptical whether this gadget sells well though, when hardcore gamers will buy PS4 soon and light gamers like me mostly play games on iOS or Android phones and tablets. But for me, for now, it’s a perfect console to put alongside my Apple TV and Chromecast.
My regular guest (Naoya Ito) now uses Blue Yeti which I used before. Blue Yeti is a condenser mic and records great audio, while it’s picky to the background ambient noise. ATR 2100 USB might not sound as good, but because it’s dynamic, it records a clean, almost noise free audio. It definitely needs a pop filter or wind shield like I do.
As a next step, I could probably increase the quality even better by switching to Rode Podcaster, or because ATR 2100 has an XLR output, by using a USB audio interface. Update: I now use Onyx Blackjack with ATR2100.
My Podcast is organized with Jekyll and hosted on Linode with a simple Nginx setup along with audio files as well. I considered hosting them on S3/CloudFront, but hosting MP3 will cost a lot of money, which otherwise only costs $20 for 2TB traffic with Linode.
The RSS feed is generated using Jekyll template, and proxied with FeedPress using a custom domain.
Previously I was using Mixlr with its paid account to do the live streaming. It worked quite well, and has a benefit of sending push notifications to its mobile app users upon streaming.
I switched to Icecast and Darkice since i have more control by running the streaming server, and it costs nothing in addition to the regular linode setup.
I run a Skype bot on Mac mini (at my parent’s home actually) and wrote a script to send Soundflower audio to an Icecast server on Linode. Just adding the bot to the Skype conversation starts the streaming.
All of my photos taken with my camera and phones are organized in Lightroom. All photos are backed up to Amazon Glacier using Arq. I’d love to share only the selected photos with my family, but also share specific collection with friends without accounts.
Share photos with family
Family use a combination of PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Android
Sync/share the whole photo collection automatically to computers and tablets
Nice if synced folders are read-only, so that Family can’t delete my photos
Share specific collection with friends with secret URL (web sharing)
Number of selected photos are roughly 800 photos per year: exported with 2048px/JPEG with LR, about 1.5GB with 3000 photos.
(Photos with longer edge 2048px or below don’t count towards storage for iCloud and Google+)
Clearly there’s no one app that does everything I want. Need to pick up a few and let them what they can and are good at.
Not going to use:
Flickr: no sync, poor official iOS/Android apps.
Revel, iCloud: Pretty close but no Android client support.
BitTorrent sync: syncing photos with Android storage
synced folder on Mac: Wi-Fi sync with iTunes, Home Sharing with Apple TV
Google+ Photos: Android viewer, iOS sync/viewer (Best Album) and secret link
Dropbox: iOS/Android viewer and secret link
Pretty much everything is automated with Lightroom Smart Collection publishing.
Dropbox and BitTorrent are almost interchangeable, but: Dropbox does web-based sharing and Photo Albums, while BitTorrent Sync has unlimited storage and read-only Sync.
By the way, it’s a shame that Chromecast doesn’t support any slideshow at all, even when you have bunch of photos on Google+.
This research is probably not fair to Flickr, because there might be third party apps that enables sync and offline viewing that I haven’t researched.
I haven’t bothered such options, particularly because my Flickr account is a full of mess that I don’t want to deal with. G+ has a clear advantage that has a clean start for me.
However Google+ also has a better support for Japanese customers than Flickr/Y! - remember, Flickr is a yahoo.com service and there’s no Japanese language on their site/app.
Again, this is not a comprehensive research - probably there are third party apps that enables some of the features in the table.
Back in October T-Mobile announced Simple Choice unlimited global data roaming, which provides free global data/text roaming (and 20c/min voice) in most foreign countries.
After purchasing an unlocked iPhone 5s for wife, and Nexus 5 for myself, we terminated AT&T contract ($130 ETF), and then merged my T-Mobile prepaid into now family shared Simple Choice that makes us eligible for the free roaming.
We’ve been traveling Europe for the past 2 weeks, in Denmark, Germany and then UK. For each country, after getting off an airplane, all I need to do is to turn off the airplane mode, and the phone starts to roam. It just works.
The network can be chosen automatically by default, but if you have a specific network you want to connect in mind, you can do so in the settings of your mobile OS. I chose 3 (Three Hutchison) in Denmark and T-Mobile in both Germany and UK.
If you’re on AT&T or Verizon, you might have used a similar way of roaming with the data package. But that’s expensive, like $30 for 300MB. And then it will be prorated and you have to do the math every time you use data. With T-Mobile, it’s unlimited.
The only catch with this free roaming is that the data is capped at 120kbps both up and down. You might wonder what it is like to use that slow network in the age of LTE. The answer is, it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s definitely slow when you want to render bunch of photos, like foursquare photo page or Google image search and playing youtube videos is a no-no, but otherwise, for Google Maps, Twitter, Instagram, checking in on foursquare or looking for wi-fi password of the cafe - all shows up pretty fast. And it works reliably, albeit slow, which is far better than fast but unreliable.
For the 12 days, I used 900MB of data in total, most of them from Google Maps, Foursquare and Falcon Pro (Twitter client). Before this free roaming package, T-Mobile used to charge $15/MB, which is absurd. If i used 900MB with that rate, that would have been a $15k bill! Now it’s free.
I’ve been a big fan of unlocked phones, and buying a local SIM would make a lot of sense if you stay longer and want a decent connection and/or tethering. But for 4-5 day stay, getting to mobile shops for a SIM card is such a time waster, especially when your flight arrives late at night. And some countries put a huge burden for foreigners to get a prepaid data SIM (France and Japan in mind), or a big activation fee ($20 in Canada). Some carriers require a few hours before your SIM card gets activated to be able to use data. And you will receive an SMS with non-English language that you have to google translate, etc.
It makes me feel so liberated that I don’t need to worry about all these things. Your phone just works when you get off the plane, no need to pull out a SIM.
UPDATE: there is a question whether the used data contributes to the domestic data cap of your Simple Choice plan (500MB for minimum, $10 for 2GB, $20 for unlimited). It doesn’t seem so, because we used 1.5GB during the trip, and T-Mobile site doesn’t show that usage in my current activity.
Now they claim their “personal music copy compensation” income gets to none because consumers can’t copy data anymore. These people are either crazy, or don’t understand what they’re talking about. Or both.
Just to back up a little bit, the compensation system was founded in 1992, way before MP3s etc. took mainstream, and its target was mostly DAT, Mini Disk and CD-R. If you buy those blank disks of CD-R at computer shops or record shops in Japan (if you find any), there are two choices: one for Music and the other for Data. These are the physically same disks, but “for Music” disks cost a little higher because it has this compensation on top, which will then be distributed to the publisher.
It’s weird, but that was the only way to compensate the “private copy” of music you can never track.
Now we’re in 2013, where we watch digital OTV with DRM protection, and various shows on Hulu/Apple TV with its own fees, or buy music from iTunes without DRM (finally). Consumers can directly buy or pay for these media, and publisher will get income base on the sales. It’s clearer than ever.
It is music industry who introduces all this situation, and it should’ve been obvious that this compensation system will not work anymore, and it’s a good thing.
And they’re complaining about it, and propose to make a law to collect fees from ANY devices and services (including laptop computers, iPads or Dropbox) if they can copy a music.
If we’re not calling these guys nuts, what could it be?
Note that it’s not the first time they proposed this, indeed they started lobbying this when iPod came out, and they have never been successful about it, and the supreme court had a decision that the system will never be applied to digital distribution of the content. So I’m optimistic.
Received this on this Tuesday, and been using it for 2 days on T-Mobile LTE.
I love this phone. It is so much better than the previous phone, Nexus 4.
The screen is gorgeous and crisp, and never fails to enlighten me when I turn on the screen. This is the first experience I’ve ever had since the retina iPad 3.
The screen is sometimes too bright, when used in the dark. I heard it is a bug in the auto brightness detector, and could be fixed in the OS update later.
Camera quality has been criticized on some reviews, but for me it takes decent, sometimes great, photos. Look at the result of Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5s photo polls. I don’t consider the quality as good as 5s, but the fact is that it could take as good photos.
The camera app is wacky and slow, but hopefully it could be improved in the future software updates.
The hardware is pretty big, but not that big if you’ve already used 4+ inch devices such as Nexus 4. It is a little longer than Nexus 4, but it’s thinner and actually lighter. The back is made of matte, not glass like Nexus 4, which makes it easy to not slip on my hand, and will not crack even when you drop it.
The matte back also fixes the problem with Qi charging with RAVPower wireless battery, when Nexus 4’s glass back keeps slipping off from the battery. Nexus 5 does not.
Speaking of wireless charging, Nexus 5 makes the wireless charging seemingly much more stable. The positioning of charging point is a little above what was on Nexus 4. Nexus 5 has almost in the middle of the body, whereas Nexus 4 had in in the bottom. This requires some getting used to, but overall it makes it more steady.
Here’s the comparison between T-Mobile HSPA+ and LTE in my home, SOMA area in San Francisco. Downstream is not much different at the speed test, but in reality, LTE download is much more steady and fast. Also, the upstream makes a huge difference.
Yesterday I tried to download a couple of podcast episodes with T-Mobile LTE - it downloaded 50MB file in 20 seconds. Guess 200MB free data for tablets is a real deal, that can be consumed in one minute :)
There’s a report that Nexus 5 (even with D821, International model) doesn’t support NTT DoCoMo’s 3G/WCDMA SIM card. You should get the SIM that supports their LTE network. I do have b-mobile (MVNO of docomo) that only runs on 3G, and guess it’s time to upgrade to their LTE version. But i could probably live with T-Mobile’s free EDGE global roaming when everything fails.
I’ve been only using it for 2 days and it’s too early to judge on battery life, but so far it isn’t that impressive, and mostly the same level as Nexus 4. With the heavy use it could run out before 8 hours of use, but with a regular use, turning off background battery heavy apps like Moves, and then always on WiFi, could lead to a whole day use.
I’ll update after a week of use.
The google experience launcher (GEL as they call it in the Android devsphere) looks nice especially the translucent toolbar. Although the icon size is a little too big to my taste, and i switched to Action Launcher Pro which 4.4 support is still in the works. I also installed DynamicNotifications and Dashclock for lock screen immediately like I did with Nexus 4, which feels like de-nexusing my phone :)
Anyway 4.4 update is welcoming in most places - the toaster notification looks so better.
Japanese Text Rendering
It is still puzzling when the app displays Japanese characters in Japanese fonts (or CJK unified fonts).
Prior to 4.4, it depended on the system settings - if you set your locale to Japanese, most texts are shown in Japanese fonts. Otherwise it will be in CJK font. With 4.4, it seems like the renderer tries to figure out whether the text is in Japanese or Chinese. When I look at mostly Japanese email on Gmail or articles on Pocket, it will render in Japanese fonts, but not all. It is still puzzling, and i hope it will get more robust.
Typing passwords twice for the first time because i enable 2-factor authentication is annoying. Why can i just do the 2FA for the first time.
Now you could transfer authenticator code from one device to another without disabling it. Good update.
Google Voice app feels really outdated. Needs the whole refresh.
The keyboard responds so much better than Nexus 4. I’m assuming this is an improvement in Android 4.4, combined with Nexus 5 specific touchscreen optimization.
New file chooser looks interesting. I used that to upload my photo from Dropbox to my Square account avatar. the UI looked a bit odd, but the whole experience was like magic. Something iOS needs to support with its puzzling iCloud document stuff.
Android really needs Do-not-Disturb like iOS, i.e. turning off vibration and LED flash during the night. Yes, I know I can do it with Tasker etc., but nope, it should be done in the system.
Overall i love this phone. It’s the best phone available for $349 without doubt on the market, and despite some initial issues, Android 4.4 looks like a big leap from 4.3.
As far as non-cellular network capabilities go, the Nexus 5 has support for WiFi a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. The cellular network capabilities are interesting in an somewhat perplexing manner.
It won’t matter to many people, but apparently Nexus 5 has 2 SKUs, one for US and other for international. I was a bit excited for a moment when i heard e-mobile launches Nexus 5 in Japan since I have a SIM card for them (which I use with a mobile router these days).
But apparently my Nexus 5 won’t work with their LTE band, let alone their existing 280yen/month plan doesn’t let me use their LTE network anyway.
Google is setting up partnerships with app developers to allow the search company to scan their app’s content. That means that Google Now will be able to give you a button to launch an app directly to the information that relevant to your query, not just a web page.
Ah, OK. This is probably the biggest difference between App Indexing and the existing apps that intercepts URL intents, which i was confused about.
It will be huge if a third party app, like Yelp, Foursquare or Open Table shows up as I walk into a restaurant/cafe.
If you want to offer your users the option to open your content in your app if they have it installed from search results, we require you configure both your website and your app to tell us about their relationship, […]
I’m a bit confused, that there are some apps already out there that intercepts links to their page (e.g. foursquare) by matching URLs and prompts user if they want to open the page with Chrome or their native app (Foursquare). How is this different?
FAA has confirmed that use of portable electronic devices by airline passengers will be permitted from gate to gate. Cellular devices must be in flight mode throughout, and you cannot make voice calls, even via Wi-Fi.
I assume this only applies to the US domestic flights, but would be cool that i can continue reading with Kindle or Smartphones during the takeoff.
We recently launched LinkedIn Intro — a new product that shows you LinkedIn profiles, right inside the native iPhone mail client. That’s right: we have extended Apple’s built-in iOS Mail app, a feat that many people consider to be impossible. This post is a short summary of how Intro works, and some of the ways we bent technology to our will.
As pointed out by many - it’s a man-in-the-middle IMAP proxy that gets automatically configured by installing security profiles for iOS.
While I love the approach of hacking proxy server to bend request/response at your will, I don’t believe a company like LinkedIn should do this, and Apple might take action to prevent things like this, since allowing to install this kind of profile could lead to a malicious application easily.
Google has always given itself some protection against alternative versions of Android. What many people think of as “Android” actually falls into two categories: the open parts from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which are the foundation of Android, and the closed source parts, which are all the Google-branded apps.
Interesting read on how Google has moved most of its services into “Google Play Services” app and other proprietary, closed source apps from AOSP.
The iPhone and iPad app now allows users to make Voice Over IP calls to any number using their Google Voice number, and calls made to numbers in the US and Canada are completely free. The same international call rates are reportedly still in effect. No SIM card is necessary - calls made from the iPad or iPod Touch go through just fine.
You can see the size as compared to the Nexus 4. Really compact.
Compared to the nexus charger. Much less bulky.
Here’s how it looks while charging. It doesn’t make a sound, but the LED indicator blinks in green to show that it is being charged. This is very nice but could be annoying to some (more on that later).
Comparison with Nexus charger and RAVPower
This is the 3rd Qi charger in my collection, and I like this the most. Here’s a quick comparison of these three devices.
Doesn’t make a sound upon charging
Put your phone in any direction and it will charge
LED to make sure it is being charged
The blinking LED indicator could be annoying at night
Comes with the mobile battery
Can be used with USB charger as well
Looks slick, despite made in China :p
Slippery surface (Rubber band to the rescue)
Makes a beep upon charging
Tilted, so I can look at screen on the desk while charging (like a dock)
Sticky surface tends to pick up dusts then gets slippery
Make vibrations louder on table
Here’s a video comparing Nexus dock charger, LG WCP-300 and RAVPower Qi 2-in-1.
For a home use, LG WCP-300 beats other two in every other way. I haven’t tested these expensive chargers made in wood or stone but this is the best in terms of its hardware and ease of use. And it’s about half the price of the Nexus charger.
The blinking LED is a little bit annoying because I’m thinking of putting it at bedside table, but could be avoided by changing the direction, or just a matter of covering the LED with a tape.
I recommend this for a home use, and if you need to charge your phone on mobile or for travels, RAVPower with mobile battery is still a great deal as well.
Now I’m looking forward to the next Nexus device having Qi compatibility as well.
LG WCP-300 はこれまで試した中では一番良く出来た Qi 無線充電器ではないかなと思う。ハードウェアもとてもコンパクトだし、横置きなので携帯 (Nexus 4) でもタブレットでもうまく使えるはず。Nexus orb はホコリがつきやすいし、RAV Power は滑りやすい、充電開始時に音がなるとかそういう問題がこれでは完全に解消されてる。
That $18 fee/govt taxes are subtle but not something I can lightly dismiss. If we give up the roaming and go back to the plain prepaid:
2 Prepaid lines
T-Mobile (prepaid) $30: 5GB, no tether
T-Mobile (prepaid) $30+$15: 5GB, tether
I absolutely support the Uncarrier move of T-Mobile, but $33/mo is a bit high premium.
So this leaves me the obvious question: whether $33/mo is worth for unlimited voice calls and global roaming. We rarely make phone calls these days, and 100 minutes included in the prepaid plan is more than enough.
I guess the roaming support would pay in the end if we make travels abroad every month, or at least once in two months, since buying a SIM would usually result in $30 or more ($50 in Canada for me), not to mention the wasted time looking for a phone shop.
Based on our number of trips this year, it would possibly cover the total cost in the end, but that might not be the same next year.
We have a plan to visit Europe and some Asian countries around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we’ll see how valuable the roaming would be.
UPDATE: several readers commented that my fees/taxes are too high. This is because I currently live in San Francisco, where the city government taxes about $8 for 911 and “Utilities” (the bill from AT&T last month). In other cities, your charges will be much less.
The intelligent homescreen that simplifies your phone
Still rough on the edges, but i love the look & feel of the app, and the idea that the home screen changes its mode depending on the context: what time of the day, where you are, etc.
Obviously you can do the same and much more with custom launcher and shortcuts and alike, but the way Aviate unifies the UI and provides spaces looks great to me.
I think Android Home screen has been a missed opportunity: Facebook tried and failed (its Lock screen looks nice, but who wants to see FB updates when I need to use my phone!), Slide Screen is also a failed attempt although it looked awesome.
I guess Home screen apps can do a whole lot more - Just started using it today, and will see how it grows.
(Note: Don’t ask for an invite. I am running out of them)
Ruby is a dying language. Business is over its dalliance with Ruby. No major startup is lauding their use of Ruby and existing businesses are migrating away or simply writing new applications in a different language. The few exceptions prove the rule.
The Wireless Power Pebble is less expected. It’s a wireless phone charger similar to Google’s Nexus 4 orb or Palm’s Touchstone, except this one really is made of stone — red Versailles marble, to be precise.
T-Mobile unveiled the latest part of its Uncarrier initiative today: the carrier is offering unlimited international data and text services at no extra charge starting October 31st.
Been using their Monthly 4G + tethering and happy about their rates, but annoyed by their ridiculous $10/1MB roaming plan where AT&T and Verizon had a much more affordable package. Now this is going to change, and it comes in a great timing since I will get iPhone 5s unlocked for wife, and we’ll terminate her AT&T line and switch to their Simple Choice for 3GB of data for $90/mo for 2 lines, with global data roaming for no cost? I’m in.
Non-deterministic deploys of code from (usually) un-tagged source control, with production environments needing all kinds of eccentric heavy weight tools to help with mutating assets to solve problems that are mostly a product of poor framework in the first place design can’t go on forever.
An epic rant on Rails and rubygem ecosystem, by apparently burnt-out maintainer of Capistrano.