Apple's (future) presence in China

Rumours about the new lower-cost plastic iPhone are so prominent that we can, rather safely, take the “iPhone 5C” for granted. Its target is purportedly the cost conscious customer, and according to many articles, Asian emerging markets (read China).

On my recent trip there I came to wonder if this is really the right move to increase presence in China. Walking around, one realises that Chinese people do not necessarily seek cheap stuff; when buying phones the thing that matters most is the size. People do not care that they can not put their massive 6.3” Samsung MEGAs into their pocket because it never leaves their hand. (I wonder what effect on health this will have on the long term)

It is quite unlike Apple to create derivate devices for specific markets. iOS, for example, is the same in every country with all social networking options available everywhere. However it is not a coincidence that all car makers make specific (bigger) versions of their vehicles tailored for Chinese taste. Such an enormous population is well worth additional upkeep expenses.

While the new iPhone will inevitably attract new customers, I would not bet it will help Apple gain much traction in China. The alleged new iPhone will not be cheap, and the price is not the main reason why people in China do not buy iPhones. One reason is the size, the other is that Chinese input method in iOS sucks. What they need is an ugly maxi-phone, which they could sell at a premium price. And buy Sogou.

gzip, bzip, zip and md5sum a folder

During the OpenViBE releases I found myself to repeat this procedure ad nauseum. So I made a little script that does the thing automatically. I will just leave it here for future reference:

#!/usr/bin/perl

$folder = $ARGV[0];

print `tar czf $folder.tar.gz $folder\n`;
print `tar cjf $folder.tar.bz2 $folder\n`;
print `zip -9 -r $folder.zip $folder\n`;

print `md5sum $folder.tar.gz $folder.tar.bz2 $folder.zip > $folder.md5\n`;

Happy hacking

A bookmarklet to make a stretched article readable

There are many tools like Readability or Evernote Clearly to make any arbitrary article readable and they are very good at their job.

Sometimes however you do not want to get rid of all of the formatting and sometimes they simply just do not work, e.g., on web forums.

One thing you can find all over the Internet is pages stretched from side to side, and they are all but readable on larger screens. Of course with responsive design you can just resize your browser but that is not what you want to do all of the time.

Here is a handy bookmarklet that will ‘columnize’ any webpage:

javascript:d=document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0];d.style.width="11in";d.style.margin="0 auto";void(0);

Enjoy

Publications

I have updated my biography page. I have added a link to my PRESENCE paper and citation for the T:CIAIG one.

Augmented sausages

My sausages are augmented

As I came home, craving for some chowder, I was wondering what to cook. I wanted to finish some meat from earlier in my fridge but had to make decisions. Do I cook sausages, or do I grill some bacon?

Finally I have decided to do both.

raw-sausages

With a bit of cayenne and cheese you got yourself a good healthy dinner. Oh, and for vitamins grill it in some pig fat.

cooked-sausages

Betteridge's vengeance

By Shaunacy Ferro, Are Angry Legos Harming Our Children?

The paper estimates that on average, there are 75 Lego bricks for every person on Earth. “We cannot help but wonder how the move from only positive faces to an increasing number of negative faces impacts how children play,” the researchers write. “The children that grow up with LEGO today will remember not only smileys, but also anger and fear in the Minifigures’ faces.”

Another headline, another “no”. I remember painting over the lego faces to give them any expression I wished them to have. Bad guys were quite angry.

Gulf color theme for Xcode

I have started teaching myself some Objective-C which also means that I have to use something else than my beloved Qt Creator.

As to feel a bit at home I have ported my Gulf theme over to Xcode. The choice I have made in creating this theme is to conserve all of the colours from the original (e.g. Types and Classes are greenish, while attributes are blueish).

Sadly Xcode does not provide different colours for global and local variables. However, all externally imported classes, types and functions are marked in italics, so you can easily know what belongs to you.

Here is a quick look at the theme:

1

And here is the download link, enjoy:

Gulf theme for Xcode

Ultimate student food - Tomato Bacon Pasta

This time I will share a recipe to what is probably the first thing I have cooked and required more tools than a can opener.

This meal is dead simple and the greatest thing is that you can cook it without even having any precious condiments, such as salt or oil (but it helps).

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you will need. As it is designed to be cheap, there are very few of them. If you live in France you may notice that everything comes from Intermarché’s store brands.

ingredients

  1. Smoked bacon
  2. Emmental cheese
  3. Half an onion
  4. Tomato sauce (thick)
  5. Pasta
  6. Bonus: salt and oil

Cooking

Dice the onions.

For the sauce put some oil (if you have any) to a frying pan, heat it and then add onions. Stir until they are somewhat cooked (become glass-like). If you are cooking without oil keep an eye on them and stir a lot so you do not burn them.

Once the onions are good add the bacon. Stir until it becomes opaque. At this point the bacon will probably release quite a lot of juicy grease. Depending on how fat you are and want to be you can throw some of the grease away.

After this add a can of the tomato puree. Pro tip: in order to not lose the precious sauce, pour water into the can and stir. Then pour the tomatoey water into your sauce, it will make it more smooth.

Cook the pasta.

Nota-bene on cooking pasta (skip if you know how to do it)

For one person use about this much spaghetti:

serving-size

Step by step guide to edible pasta:

  1. Boil water
  2. Put salt to water if you want salted pasta, serves no other purpose
  3. Put pasta into boiling water
  4. Wait as many minutes as written on the package and then one more
  5. If the water spills out of the pan give zero fucks
  6. Get pasta out, serve immediately

Serving

Put the pasta on a plate, cover with cheese. Put the sauce on top.

presentation

If you are wondering why my torti from the photo magically transformed to spaghetti then know that I only had a new pack of torti in the kitchen. Also this works with any pasta, of course.

First world problems

Have you ever thought you might be liking too much stuff on Facebook? Have you ever thought that it might be such an important issue that you need to stop doing it? And write about it on a popular tech website?

Well, some people have, as written in this article. Seriously, if people do not have a real problem to cope with they will find one. If we have a job, a home, and a decent life let us complain about how we must do stuff that did not even exist a few years ago.

Lend Kendall:

I’ve hit the “like” button thousands of times out of obligation, for worry that I might hurt someone’s feelings or make them feel ignored.

Really? What kind of obligation do you have to random people on the Internet? Luckily Facebook does not have (yet) a feature showing you who read your posts like they have for chat.

Quickfix for pogdesign checkboxes

I got finally fed up with the Unity-like checkboxes on my favourite TV-show tracking site. Quick roundup: these checkboxes are represented by a box with a grey checkmark when unchecked and a box with green checkmark when checked.

Not only is this horrible for colorblind people, it also drives sane persons nuts.

If you use Stylish extension for firefox, or some alternative for your browser then you can use this snippet to replace them with standard controls:

@namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);

@-moz-document url-prefix("http://www.pogdesign.co.uk/cat") {

 .lists div label, .day .ep label, .today .ep label  {
   /* bright background */
   background-image: url('data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAsAAAAsCAYAAACzBUKoAAABJElEQVQ4je2TscqDQBCEZyWPFiFgYymWKXyGvEEsfISAvdilFCEEJEXeIU0KO0vhlttcqpOY8POvRboMHNcMyzAfQ6fTyQVBAP+IaPqJCDM1TeOg0PV6dYExRuOFiCBgZpXZWgv1ZWZeaNbGWGQ2xiw0W2vVMWi/3ztP65XeK1X/VuM4Qo17t9upcOd5/j/uLMscoMC93W7d4/EA8IY7iqJZnDRNnbUWIjK1MZmNMdhsNg4A4jh2zAxmRlmW5M0rH4OZISIIw9AZYyAiqOt6qmOG+3w+k7/GzDgej7PePnB3XUfMjLZt3wr+A/flcvkw+hi0Xq/VuOl+v+vXfbvdVLiHYfite9KX111VlX7dfd/r110UhQr34XD4rXvSl9edJIka9xPBTXfNN90QEQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==') !important;

   /* dark background */
   /* background-image: url('data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAsAAAAsCAYAAACzBUKoAAABJ0lEQVQ4je2TsY2FMBAF1+g6oAJSEpqgCEqhAwgogQpogYScyBkRBA6IIETyCuMfLQLj01+Cy86ShVYeW0+Mnui6zgZBALSFEOdXCAG31batBcbq+94GWmsOC8YYCBCRBe/7DuyXEfElzI3xCtZav4T3fWfHEEVRWLJ1tXe1Svtn2zZg687znKW7LMvvupdlsQAM3QQCOLqvB775oZuAKxiGoThhN4YPfMDXA9/80E2AC56wq9sHUgyRpilbt1BK8ds9jiNL97qu/+0+1x+3u2kafrvneea3u6oqlu66rr/rVkrx2j1Nkz2OAwAc3VLKW5xhGKwxBgh+6KYLUkqLiICIEEXR7+2mC9ZaiOPY3+4kSW7/yZ0fuglwwRN2dftAiiGyLGPr/gDD7TWBmCHgngAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==') !important; */

 }
}

If you use a dark background then un-comment the second background-image tag.

Enjoy