Proctele apps in the App Store

Proctele apps in the App Store
Click the picture to see Proctele apps in Apple's App Store

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 - Chuck Norris Year

Chuck Norris is the all-time favorite of this blog, and for all those who haven't seen the video of the year 2013: Here it is!

What a guy! Just think of what Apple could do with a Chief Designer like Chuck. We would see iPhones, iPads and Mac PC's in almost any color and any size. The vanilla versions (costing just $50) would have one Terabyte of RAM and no permanent storage needed, because Chuck would make sure RAM contents weren't lost at power-down. 

Maximum screen resolution would be one pixel/nanometer. There would be 64 million CPU's in a new Chuck Norris patented configuration and hence all working perfectly together at clock frequencies unheard of. One breath from Chuck would be the only power source the device ever needed. 

All the usual apps would be included, but with a special touch that only Chuck Norris could provide. Chuck would make a handsome profit from the overwhelming sales and donate it to the best run charity in the world, and they wouldn't dare let Chuck down.

I think 2014 will be an important year with Apple bringing new breakthrough products to the market. I expect big screens to be Apple's new thing. We'll see a breakthrough for Apple TV's and anything that needs a big screen. The rest of the market will follow and help the PC industry to rise again. 2014 is going to be the BIG SCREEN year. Chuck Norris will like that, I'm sure.

Happy 2014 to all readers of this blog!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

G.Fast: Gigabit/s to Your Internet Modem

xDSL (x = e.g. A) has given us very fast Internet through the twisted pair copper wires once drawn to our houses for telephony. It has served us well. Almost anyone with a subscription can plug an xDSL modem into his phone socket and start surfing the Net. But all things must come to an end, and the end is now in sight for xDSL.

ITU, the gold standard standardization organization will soon ratify the G.Fast standard, which will give us gigabit/s through those humble wires that once carried voice only. That's technological development!

The question is as always: do we need it? A no-answer will appear laughable in a few years, so the safe bet is to answer yessss. We don't need it right away, because the services aren't there yet, but they will come. One thing leads to another. TV through the Internet is already there. G.Fast will enable the next generation TV through the Internet, and lots of stuff we haven't thought of yet.

I remember dial-up modems that could carry 2400 bits/s duplex, i.e. both ways. They were an improvement upon those carrying 600 bits/s one way and 1200 bits/s the other way. They operated in the frequency (on the twisted pair wires) that now carries voice. At that time faxing was all the rage. The last standard for fax modems gave them a speed of 28800 bits/s in 1994. But the Internet and its e-mail was about to break through and fax would no longer be needed. The faxing eighties were drawing to an end. By 2000-something dial-up Internet access was no longer acceptable. 

In the eighties and nineties cable-TV had become popular and in the nineties they started offering Internet access and that access wasn't dial-up, but the real thing: constant Internet access. 

ADSL was the technical solution for the phone companies. ADSL transported data in a different way than the eighties modems. It left the lower spectrum to voice and instead occupied the spectrum above. This use of the wires was strictly prohibited by the old phone companies, but that had to change. Thanks to competition the "cable-guys" gave phone subscribers proper Internet access.

ADSL was the given solution for households without cable. I remember what a luxury it was to read my e-mails without having to dial-up :-) Now Internet access is almost as important as electricity. What a wonderful innovating world!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Curved Smartphone Screen

How could a curved smartphone screen be an improvement on a flat one? What struck me first was that ambient light would reflect less on a curved screen. Display experts confirm my suspicion, but say there seem to be more advantages. According to a curved screen substantially improves screen readability, image contrast, color accuracy, and overall picture quality, but can also increase the running time on battery, because you can do with less battery-draining screen brightness. Here's a picture of Samsung Galaxy Round:
A curved screen improves privacy, since it's less readable from the wrong angle. One disadvantage I can think of is that you'll no longer be able to use it as a mirror, because it will change your looks.

Perhaps a screen with variable curvature would be better. For that you would need a slightly flexible screen. That would keep the advantages of the flat screen and add the curved screen ones.

I think smartphone technology is going to develop very much in the coming years. Speakers have come down in size lately and I expect that small size will be used inside smartphones soon. My iPhone and iPad already have reasonably good sound quality without anything attached, like earphones or external speakers. In a few years that's going to be a lot better.

I read recently that the average smartphone user picks up his smartphone about 150 times a day. That amounts to about ten times/hour. Don't know if it's really been researched properly, but it seems credible. Whatever truth in that, I'm in no doubt that the smartphone is the most popular invention in the last 20 years, or even longer. Its great popularity indicates it's going to develop strongly in the coming years.


Monday, November 4, 2013

My Mavericks has arrived!

My MacBook now has Apple's new OS called OSX Mavericks. 5.29 Gigabytes all for free and it took about 3 hours to download. I upgraded from OSX Lion, which means I skipped the Mountain Lion upgrade.

Upgrading is nerve-wracking, particularly if you come from the world of Windows. (Got a touch of deja-vu there. Guess I must've said just that before.) In that world you could always count on the PC becoming slower after updating. In fact that also happened when I upgraded the MacBook to OSX Lion, but I fixed that by doubling the RAM memory to 4GB. OSX Mavericks doesn't slow down at all, much to my relief. 

The new OSX has some nice new features of course. Perhaps my favorite is tabs in the Finder application. I used to end up with a number of Finder views. From now on I can do with just one, because you can copy between tabs. Great! Another Finder feature is colored tags. I'll probably use that sparely. I'm comfortable with just using directories, but I might use tags for a few things.

iBooks on the PC, and not just on iPhone and iPad and iPod touch, is a good idea. Being able to download straight to the PC makes sense. My PC is still my computing hub. Ok slightly old-fashioned to favor a MacBook over iPad, but PCs still are more versatile than iPads, and they don't run away as easily, connected as they are to USB disks, speakers and the rest.

Apple also says Mavericks makes applications go easier on the battery and the same with Safari. That's great news and I'm sure I'll benefit from that sometimes. 

For the next OSX I would like to see an improvement in the performance of the Dashboard, where I have a calculator, a clock and a dictionary. It seems to enter a sleep mode after PC startup, and even after a long time of non-use. It takes a few seconds before I can use the calculator and that's a bit annoying. But maybe I've just missed a trick. If so I can correct it myself sometime.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New iPads are coming

Apple has an event on 22 October. We can expect a new iPad and a new iPad Mini. We can be sure iPad Mini will get a retina-resolution screen. Rumors say that at least iPad will get the finger-print-reading Home button of iPhone 5S. If so, I'd expect the Mini to get that too. I'm guessing that the Mini's only visible difference from its bigger cousin will be screen size.

I've read another rumor that the iPad's frame, or what an artist might call passepartout, will be thinner, and thereby give more screen area. I doubt that would be a good idea. When holding an iPad you need a bit of space for the thumbs. If the frame becomes too thin, you'll see the picture scroll away unexpectedly much more often than already happens. Unless of course unintentional touches can be eliminated somehow.

I'll dream on for a while now. Wouldn't it be great if they'd introduce a book-reading mode on the iPad. At the flick of a switch the screen would start using E-ink screen technology. All of a sudden the screen would consume close to no power, and look almost like paper. You could go on a month's holiday without ever charging, as long as you'd just be reading books.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NumberWizFP sum D90H: Solution

The sum was:
Using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, how do you make D90H out of these six numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 40H, 80H ?

d90H = 80 x 9 x 3 + (40/4)

Remember: You can buy NumberWizFP in the App Store and generate as many sums as you like. For this privilege you'll have to fork out the equivalent of a full cup of coffee ;-). Extra strong.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

NumberWizFP sum D90 (Hex)

It's been a very long time since I challenged readers with a sum from the NumberWizFP game, the game that treats hexadecimal and octal numbers with the respect they deserve.

Here's a sum:
Using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, how do you make D90H out of these six numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 40H, 80H ?

You're welcome to mail your solution to admin at, or in the comments below.

Remember: You can buy NumberWizFP in the App Store and generate as many sums as you like. For this app you'll have to fork out the equivalent of a full cup of coffee ;-)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple is Going for Gold

iPhone 5S is available in Gold, and since iPhone leads the other i-products, we can expect to see more golden Apple products.

The next golden product from Apple is rumored to be an ultra-thin and golden iPad mini. I don't think we'll have to wait long for a golden iPad or iPod touch. Gold looks good. Gold is a classic.

It's time for covers to match the gold. Gold shouldn't need to be hidden inside a protecting cover. I think it's time for a cover that protects, but doesn't hide. Very thin glass that doesn't get scratched might be the fix. Or why not a scratch-resistant body and glass-plate to remove all need for protection? They're probably getting there.

MegaTape GPS Tape Measure is Updated

MegaTape v1.7 is available now, after having been off the market for about two weeks.

The icon and graphics have been modified. A short reminder box for how to make good measurements has been added to the first screen.

Monday, September 23, 2013

NumberWiz sum 445: solution

The sum was:
Using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, how do you make 445 out of these six numbers 2, 5, 25, 50, 75, 100 ?

A solution:
445 = (25 - 2) x (75 / 5) + 100

There may be more solutions.

Remember: You can buy NumberWiz in the App Store for half the price of a cup of coffee and generate as many sums as you like.

Friday, September 20, 2013

NumberWiz sum 445

It's been a long time since I challenged readers with a sum from the NumberWiz game. 

Here's a sum:
Using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, how do you make 445 out of these six numbers 2, 5, 25, 50, 75, 100 ?

You're welcome to mail your solution to admin at, or in the comments below.

Remember: You can buy NumberWiz in the App Store for half the price of a cup of coffee and generate as many sums as you like.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

iPhone 5S and 5C - C stands for color

On September 10 Apple presented two new iPhones - the 5C and 5S.

The iPhone 5C promo video, as always featuring the Brit Jony Ive senior VP Design is as poetic as ever, featuring smooth phrases like "simpler, more essential" and also "beautifully, unapologetically plastic". Great!
Screen size of 4 inches and resolution same as iPhone5. Several market specific models with different frequency bands for the cellular standards LTE and UMTS, etc. Siri is there too. Of course 5C will have iOS7, which means all icons have been redesigned. 5C looks very good. You should see the Jony Ive video if you haven't already:
The colorful silicon covers you can buy for the 5C will be popular. They're perforated to be semi-see-through.

iPhone 5C comes in 5 colors

The 5S looks very similar to iPhone5. It comes in three colors: gold, silver, space gray. With a thickness of 0.30 inch (7.6 mm) it's thinner than the 5C , and with some more features. One of those is Touch ID — a fingerprint identity sensor in the home-button. An A7 chip with 64-bit architecture. The added M7 motion coprocessor will make it possible to use the sensors like GPS and proximity sensor, without draining the battery excessively. Slo-mo video will be a popular feature I'm sure.

Pre-orders are being taken. iPhone 5C release date is September 18, iPhone 5S on September 20. There will be a narrow price difference between 5C and 5S.

When I first heard of a plastic case iPhone I thought it was going to cost less. Not because I dislike plastic (I don't), but because plastic usually means cheaper. I was wrong. The 5C isn't much less of a device than 5S, but it looks quite different. Apple is trying to appeal to more tastes. Having just one latest model is risky, when there are so many phones consumers can choose from. Hence Apple will now have a latest model also for those favoring more lightness to the design. In automotive terms one might say that although Mercedes SL has a great design, some would rather have something more playful.

iPhone 5C will most likely make iPhone 5S sell less, but it's not going to make a dent in Apple's earnings. On the contrary, and that's good.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

About Smartwatches

A smartwatch is a wrist-watch that can do more than telling the time or measuring time. I would count such early attempts as memory watches or calculator watches as smartwatches.
Current smartwatches either are complete smartphones or connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth. The Burg smartwatch is a complete smartphone, the Sony Smartwatch is of the latter type.
It's easier to describe a watch that is a complete smartphone, than a watch that connects to a smartphone. Let's look at the latter.
First of all, the Sony Smartwatch can't make calls! However you can read your SMS, Email and calendar on it. You can follow Twitter and Facebook and you can reject a call and send a predefined SMS. This is not the type of device Michael Knight in the famous TV-series used. It's only a limited user interface for your phone. In one sense it is really a smartwatch: it looks smart! The new Sony Smartwatch2 is slightly improved. It has a 1.6" screen with 220 x 176 pixels, but not much else.
The Pebble E-Paper Watch can connect via Bluetooth to iPhone and Android smartphones. It got its name from having an e-paper screen. It contains a GPS receiver. Unconnected it can show a speedometer and an odometer, and it can record your route. Later when you connect to your smartphone, you can see the route on a map. The Pebble is similar to what the Sony Smartwatch should have been, if you ask me.

To a smartwatch designer I would say the following. The wrist-watch is now an old concept. Customers are very familiar with it, so more than half the marketing is for free. Do something with the fact that it's worn close to the body, it's worn mostly on the pulse, has its own bracelet, can always be with you without being held i.e. occupying one of the hands, can be made water-proof, can be attractively designed, that women wear clothes without pockets, can have more than just a screen. This means it can benefit from having a built-in GPS, a heartrate monitor, a phone. Remember James Bond. What would Q have done?

By the way, Proctele's SmarterNote app has been updated again. The new version is v1.4. See all Proctele apps at

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Updated Apps

Two Proctele apps have been updated recently. The new versions will be for sale within a week. The updated apps are:

  • SmarterNote
  • SMS-Fast
Both updates add a bit of functionality.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TCompanion's new price $1

The newly updated app TCompanion What Direction is ...? now has a new lower price, which is $1.

TCompanion uses GPS and compass to show you what direction you should take to get to some place you marked. Your iPhone knows where you are, and you tell it where you would rather be. TCompanion shows you an arrow, which shows what direction to take, until you're there.

TCompanion is for pedestrians or cyclists, for whom conventional GPS-devices are suboptimal to put it politely.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Updated Apps

These two Proctele Apps have been updated:

  • SmarterNote
  • TCompanion - What direction is ...?
The latter has been renamed slightly. It also has a new icon in bright colors. 
Here it is:

SmarterNote got a bugfix. It also behaves better when a note contains several pictures.

If you're missing something in either of these apps, please let us know by sending an email to admin [at]

Thursday, July 11, 2013

App Store is 5 years old

Apple's App Store celebrated its 5th birthday yesterday July 10th. In total about 50 billion apps have been downloaded and there are now about 900,000 iOS apps available. The Google Play, which is the Android counter-part contains about 800,000 apps. The app industry is predicted to out-size the music industry quite soon.

The revenue that Apple has paid out to developers in the first 5 years is $10 billion. App Store revenues are about 3 times those of Google Play, indicating Android users are less willing to pay for apps. I'll come back to that here below.

Before iPhone and App Store there used to be feature phones. Those could usually download so-called Java apps. Many if not most of those were for free. They were available from different sites. Downloading usually worked, but the downloading experience was un-perfect to say the least. You might pay for an app that didn't actually run on your device. Also the screens displaying the apps were way too small. I suspect most users never bothered to download any apps at all and therefore made do with the phone as they bought it.

I'm not surprised Android app revenues are still low, because I haven't met a lot of people who pay for their Android apps. How come? My hypothesis is that Android devices are sold at all sorts of price levels, and the top-selling devices are the cheap ones. I would guess that Samsung S3 devices generate more app revenues than the rock-bottom devices. If you instead of a Samsung S3 buy a very cheap device you may not want to spend any money on apps, because cost is top priority. Never mind that the app's price is a fraction of the price of a cup of coffee, the phone will not be allowed to cost more than you already paid for it. Well except for the odd accessories like a display shield, headset, case, stylus, etc. iPhone owners seem to differ in that respect. They've bought the best and most expensive device and they're willing to top it up with both accessories and apps. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

iOS7 new features

iOS7 was presented yesterday (June 10) and will be released this fall. I'm going to point out my favorites of the new features.

The new Control Center feature means now some functions are directly accessible by sweeping from the bottom of the screen. Turn on or off Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Do Not Disturb are all available that way, but so are some functions you tend to need regularly and quickly, like flashlight, timer, calculator and camera.

There's one great Control Center feature I would have liked to see: sweep access to the settings of the current app. I hope someone at Apple reads this.

Notification Center access from the Lock screen. Very useful!

Real multi-tasking. This is a feature that Android has had for a long while. I think Apple waited to add this feature until they solved the battery draining problem that multi-tasking usually brings. I guess Apple's approach could be called smart multi-tasking.

AirDrop for iOS is great. Proctele can't wait to include that in some of its apps.

iOS Safari's new tab view is so beautiful I've got to put a picture of it right here:
It's like you're looking into a drawer and seeing pages of paper standing up, is it cardboard ;-)? Beautiful!

App Store app automatically updates your app with the newest app versions. Good!

iOS devices are among the most popular devices in the world and thieves know that. The existing Find my iPhone app counters that problem. A new feature is that turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password. To reactivate the device your Apple ID and password are required.

And lastly. The icons have been redesigned. See them here. iOS7 looks good.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Google Reader expiry and Windows 8.1

Google Reader is about to expire. The sad date is July 1st.

Google Reader has been in operation since 2005. It is a so-called content aggregator. With it you can find feeds and subscribe to feeds, manage feeds and read them, and Google Reader tells you if there's new content in your subscribed feeds. This is a great service. Professionals have used Google Reader to stay informed about their fields of expertise.

Google has been warning about the expiry since the expiry announcement in March this year. Google Takeout let me export my Google Reader user data. Google insists that my user data belongs to me and I couldn't agree more. So what do you do when your favorite service is taken away? Look for replacement of course. I found Feedly in Chrome Store. It looks promising, definitely better looks than Google Reader whose user interface Google hasn't updated for several years.

A few words about Windows 8.1 the soon to be announced Windows version. Rumors have it that Microsoft are fearing that Windows 8.0 may have been too big a step from Windows 7. The previous Windows version looked much like an evolved Windows XP, so most users instantly felt comfortable with it. But Windows 8.0 started with a fresh slate, and that's not a Microsofty way of evolving. Of course something as different as Windows 8.0 is exciting and fresh, but probably scared a few IT managers. With Windows 8.1 Microsoft is reacting to bad sales (only about 100 million ;-) ) and reversing to some degree.

A more conservative way of introducing a touch-friendly user interface would have been to keep the Windows 7 interface (with start-button and all, but slightly evolved) and to make the touch-interface available at the press of a toggle button. This would have enabled desktop and laptop user to get used to the new interface without having to take the big plunge. What's more, the IT managers would have been kept secure and happy. I look forward to the release.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Google Glass(es)

Google Glass is a wearable computer, which is worn like a pair of glasses. I'd suggest they just use the words Google Glasses. Of course, being Google, they have to be rather special.

Currently they're an experimental product. Until recently you could apply to buy a pair and they were expensive at $1500, but probably not the most expensive glasses in the world.

Google Glass by necessity features voice commanded applications. Of course using a bluetooth keyboard would be possible, but would disturb the concept, at least at this stage. I can imagine that voice commands won't quite suffice in all situations, and a keyboard is thus not unlikely to be seen as a necessary accessory.

A still-camera and video-camera are included and the recordings can be shared. I would imagine Jay Leno to be interested in being able to record every moment of his life, as he used to claim he already did. Being able to do the recording himself must be a bonus. Further hardware features are a gyroscope, accelerometer, compass and ambient light and proximity sensor.

There used to be some buzz about wearable electronics in the 1980's, well ahead of when it became feasible, which is about now. Back in the 1980's there were no digital cameras, no gigabytes of storage for music or video and PCs were running at "pedestrian speeds", so how did the buzz get started? Things are different now. Ray Ban or Polaroid computers are indeed feasible. How they'll be used will be quite interesting.

Some legislators have already spotted safety problems with Google Glass. Safety is very important, particularly traffic safety. Will these glasses cause distraction behind the wheel? The potential for that is enormous, that's clear. But in the end maybe that problem will be solved by the same company that created the glasses: Google also are experimenting with completely(!) self-driving cars. Those are, in a limited sense, already on the market, because there are cars that panic brake automatically and some that help you stay in the lane or keep a distance to the vehicle in front.

Computers and electronics are getting closer to our bodies, indeed the pacemaker is inside it. It'll be very interesting to follow Google Glass developments. With a computer in the face it's going to feel like it's almost part of our sensory system. Enhanced reality is what it's called now. It's an important step in the evolution of computers.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Mobile Operating Systems

Tizen OS, Firefox OS, Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch. These are the names of four new mobile OSes that have just been launched or are about to be. They all support touch interfaces.

Tizen OS is open source. Tizen runs Tizen-apps, web- and hybrid apps. Parts of Samsung's Bada OS, which is about to expire, will be added to Tizen.
Ubuntu Touch is open source. It currently runs on Nexus Android sets and it can run Ubuntu Touch-apps and web-apps. A good number of interesting games run on Ubuntu and then presumably on Ubuntu Touch too.
Sailfish was started by former Nokia employees. It runs Sailfish-apps, Android- and web-apps. The UI (user interface) can be customized to a high degree.
Firefox OS comes from the browser company. It can run Firefox-apps and web-apps. Of the four new OSes, Firefox OS is the one closest to launch.

One might ask what is the point of so many mobiles OSes. I think it has to do with the app-concept. There are different ideas of what an app should be. Some think Apple's proprietary app-concept is unnecessary and claim that web-apps written in HTML5 can do anything iOS-apps can do. 
Then there's Sailfish, which owes its existence to developments within Nokia, the demise of its Symbian OS and the MeeGo OS. Some Nokia employees thought there was more mileage left in MeeGo and built Sailfish.

The competition in mobile OSes that these OSes seem to promise, is likely to bring great consumer benefits. 

Cheap hardware already exists and will bring more phone makers. I can imagine Facebook as a phone maker and that they might adopt one of the new mobile OSes instead of Android or in addition to Android. Other likely phone makers are content owners, the ones that already have tablets.

I've tried a few web-apps and I don't think they are ready to take on Apple's iOS apps yet. In a few years they probably will, but that is several iPhone generations from now.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Facebook Home

I've been reading articles about Facebook's Home concept. Home will be available for download on Friday this week, and pre-installed on HTC First phones. Here are my thoughts.
Home is a new home screen for Android phones. After the phone has been started up Home takes over the home and lock screen and shows your FB feed. You still have access to the other apps on your Android, but the access goes through Home.
Home integrates some of the well-known messaging services like SMS and FB messages with the FB timeline, and hence one big advantage that Home offers its users, is integration of messaging in a Facebook device. It makes your phone FB-centric.
Home seems to be a great idea for the Facebook company. The user will think of his device as his Facebook. We'll soon be hearing "Oh dear, I left my FB on my desk!", instead of "Bugger, I left my mobile phone on my desk!". You'll think of most things you do on your smartphone in terms of FB and its user interface.
Everything you do on your FB phone will be known by Facebook, and that includes anything you do inside the other apps, including your banking app. That could mean FB will know what you own, earn and spend. It will know where your money is and how much you own, where you earn it and where you spend it. I'm speculating of course, but is there anything to stop them?
Facebook's revenue comes from advertising. To advertisers, customer information is the most valuable thing next to money. But is FB any less trustworthy than Google? Does Google spy less on Android users than will Facebook? I think Google knows less about its users, because they don't know the links between people as well as Facebook does. They would know more about its users, and as much as Facebook does, if Google+ would take off.
Would I want a phone with FB's Home? I'm not a great FB user, so my answer is definitely no. And in any case no.

Facebook writes: "Home is a completely new experience that let´s you see the world through people, not apps." That is not going to turn me into a Home fan. To me a smartphone is much more than FB, SMS or Email. It's about surfing the web, playing games, navigation, taking notes, dictionaries, music, film, camera, Twitter, RSS-feeds, todo, news; all those things that apps provide in all their diversity. To me Facebook is one app among many others.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Today is World Backup Day!

Today is an important day I discovered a few minutes ago: World Backup Day.
Thank you guys @!

Backup is increasingly important due to all those digital photos and videos most of us shoot. Not a lot of people use films these days. Developing a color-film is not so easy anymore, let alone a black-and-white film. If you're still using b&w film, you're probably best off developing it all by yourself. If not, prepare to wait.

Backup must be done on all data you create yourself. That means all your pictures, films, ripped CD's and documents and templates. Applications-backup is optional, because you can download them again or re-install from CD or DVD.

If you don't have a backup and you have that tomorrow feeling about it, think again. Imagine how you'd feel if your PC reported "Error reading <your harddisk>", the very disk where all your pictures are stored. Imagine the panic. Imagine what your family would say. Imagine how your life would be played back in your mind, particularly those hours spent with the PC. Don't let it happen! Do it! Do that backup! 

Make sure backups are made automatically at regular intervals. Configure your PC to take care of it.

World Backup Day, there are many worthy causes in the world, but this is one you definitely should support. You're worth it and so are all your photographic memories!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Great app: GPS MegaTape

GPS MegaTape makes it possible to measure a distance. It has two modes: a straight tape measure, and, an odometer (tripmeter). In the odometer mode you can record a path you walked or drove. That's a rather nice feature. 

Do as follows. When you've reached the destination, press the envelope-button on the bottom left and mail to yourself. Then open the mail and choose to open the attached file with Google Earth to see the path you traversed.

Of course you can open the mail with Google Earth on your PC too. While at the PC you might want to save the attachment to your harddisk and give it some good name for later reference. 

Here's a walk I recorded the other day (screen shot from my iPhone). The walk is the white marking on the picture: 
I usually keep my iPhone in the breast pocket of my shirt or some pocket in my jacket or overcoat. In the rather cold climate of southern Sweden taking a walk at this time of year means you need a pullover and an overcoat over the shirt. That seems to be no problem at all for GPS reception. The proof is in the picture: if reception were a problem, the white line would not be so smooth.

When you use the tape measure, it's important to wait for good GPS reception. Here's how to get a precise measurement: 
  • Wait for the indicator dot in the top right corner to turn green. It can take a few seconds.
  • When the indicator has turned green, press the Reset button to zero the measured distance.
  • Start measuring. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

TCompanion, T stands for Travel

Navigation seems to be a trivial problem for many people. They seem always to know what way to go. Their sense of directions can be such that they know within a few degrees what direction north is. It's a gift they can be proud of. Alas I'm not one of them.

It gets worse. Suppose I'm in a city. Given a map, even given my position on the map, the problem persists. I look at the map and the street signs. I'm here and I want to go there, what direction do I take? I think, Ok, I'm on A-street, but where? I'll walk to the next junction. Right, here's B-street, so I should be about ... here. My destination somewhere on the mid-point of M-street is ... there. What direction do I take from here to get there? Ok, I was over there, I'm now here, so it must be that direction.

By that time, I've probably asked somebody ... who doesn't know either.

I always get there one way or another, but it's a hassle. It was in one of those situations I realized what's actually needed. You need an arrow, which points the direction to the destination. 

That's how the idea of an app called "TCompanion - Point out direction" came to me. TCompanion does exactly what I need: It points the direction. So, here's what you do if you have TCompanion. Open the app and press the "New" button to see the map. Search for the destination and mark it. Press the "Save" on the map screen, give the destination a name, and press "Save and Point". Now you're taken back to the main screen with the arrow. Just follow the arrow until you reach the destination. The box above the arrow tells how far it is, as the crow flies. 

TCompanion uses GPS and compass, both of whom are part of your iPhone. Also, it doesn't matter how you hold the iPhone, the big arrow will always point in the right direction.

Suppose the map and the street signs were written in an alphabet you don't master. You'd need either a human guide, or, TCompanion.

TCompanion can also be used to remember where you parked the car. Open the app and press the "Here" button and name the location. 

The "Here" button is great for marking some location you want to be able to find again. Suppose you're with a travel group and the guide says: "Those of you who want to discover the city on your own for a while, please remember to be here again at ...". Mark the place and wander off with the safe feeling that you'll definitely find your way back. 

I love the TCompanion app and it has already helped me a few times. I'm looking forward to the travel season. Let me suggest you try TCompanion too.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Apps Waiting for Review

Three apps by Proctele have been updated and are awaiting App Store approval. They are "NumberWiz", "Pi, the Magic Number of circles" and "TCompanion - Point Out Direction".

TCompanion has incorrectly been labelled a tool app, but will soon be labelled a navigation app. Hopefully the new label will attract more buyers. The TCompanion is a really good and useful app. I use it as follows. 
Before I go someplace I haven't been to before, I open TCompanion to mark the exact destination (very easy: search address and mark it on the map). Arriving in the destination city I park my car somewhere not too far from the destination. To make sure I don't have to walk very far I keep an eye on TCompanion's distance indicator. After parking, I use TCompanion to point the way to go. It works great! 
I often park in a multistory car park and those often have several exits, so out in the street I mark the exit with TCompanion. In that way I can always find the exit when leaving for home.

The screen shots below, taken from the App Store, show respectively a) the search b) the marking c) saving the destination d) the pointing arrow.

And yes, TCompanion has a torch too for evening walks.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Proctele app reaches #2

The Reverse Talk app reached 2nd place in the Entertainment category in the App Store in Germany this week. At the same time it also became popular in Austria, Switzerland and Luxemburg.

Reverse Talk lets you record and then play it backwards or forwards. Playing something backwards usually results in something quite amusing. Some say it reveals hidden messages in lyrics. Babies sometimes speak backwards, although most parents seem unaware of it. 

Reverse Talk has the following names in the localized App Stores:
SV: Backsnack
NL: Achteruit praten
DE: Rückwärts reden
FR: Inverser parler

Great fun for a fraction of the price of a cup of coffee: $0.99.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

TCompanion app offers navigation-by-arrow

TCompanion offers mapless navigation. Yes, it's true! Just follow that arrow. 
Arrow navigation is here :-) 

Navigating with a map can be a challenge. Even with an iPhone running the Maps app it's not trivial. You know where you are and where you want to go, but you have to compare the map with reality to get there. That's the problem that this app solves for you. It points the direction to go, until you reach the destination. 

TCompanion uses GPS satellite navigation. 

With TCompanion you mark locations of interest on a map. Once you have marked the locations, you don't need the map anymore. Just follow the app's big arrow to find one of the places you marked. 

-Much easier than map navigation, just follow the arrow; 
-Whatever direction your iPhone points, the arrow always points correctly; 
-Shows the distance to the destination in metric or imperial units; 
-The best navigation-alternative when visiting a country with a different alphabet and unreadable street signs; 
-You can share your location markings by email with a friend, who also has this app; 
-No operator data-charges when navigating, as opposed to map navigation; 
-Compass for the cardinal points; 
-LED torch by pressing a button. 

Open the app's map screen and locate the places you want to visit and save them. Later, you can choose one of the places and ask the app to point out the direction. 

Of course you can do this on the go too. Like, what direction is Bond Street from here. Open TCompanion's map. Search for Bond Street, put a mark there and Save & Point. TCompanion's big arrow will point the direction to Bond Street. 

Suppose you're traveling to London. Before departure, you use this app to mark the places you wish to visit. You may select Big Ben, the British Museum, a theater in the West End, your hotel and a pub that someone has recommended. These places end up in a table. On location in London, you can now open this app and select for example Big Ben in the table and press Point button. Then the arrow will point you in the direction of Big Ben and show the distance there. 
A simpler example is to mark e.g. where you parked your car. 
This app does not use the Internet when navigating. Internet is only used when you access the map. 

The app enables you to use the unit's LED-flash as a powerful flashlight.

Monday, February 11, 2013

TCompanion, the new app

There's a new Proctele app in the App Store!

TCompanion - Point The Way

With TCompanion you mark a place on a map where you want to go. TCompanion will point you which direction to take. Using GPS it knows where you are and it knows your destination, because you told it. TCompanion will point you to the destination whichever way you turn your device.

TCompanion uses metric or imperial units to show the distance to the destination. 

Using maps is a hassle, even if it's on iPhone, the perfect mobile device. The difficulty is that you have to match points on the map with your immmediate surroundings. That often involves turning the device and looking at street names and comparing them to street signs around you, if you can find them. You might also have to zoom the map. It's difficult.

TCompanion solves this problem for you, by simply pointing with a big arrow what direction you have to move in and how far you are from the destination.

Wherever you are on the planet, whatever way you turn your device, TCompanion will always point the direction.

Friday, February 1, 2013

MiniDisc is Dead

The last MiniDisc player/recorder will be shipped in March this year. MiniDisc, or MD, was launched in 1992 in Japan.

I remember being impressed by the small size and Sony's beautiful compact design. I never bought one though since it was far too dear for my budget. You could even record music with it, which was more than could be said about the CD. I remember considering this inability to record as a serious shortcoming of the CD; analog tape was my reference back then.
Competing formats in those days were the CD, DAT and the DCC. The portable CD players were considered small at the time and I guess most people's choice. The DAT went professional only. DCC (the Digital Compact Cassette developed by Philips) had the advantage that you could play the old analog cassettes on DCC players, a very valid thought in many instances, but of less importance in that particular case. The MiniDisc was the most attractive device, but too expensive.
I must confess that I thought the MiniDisc was no longer being made. Who would buy it? Those who own a large enough collection of pre-recorded mini-disks, but who else? There are some excellent alternatives as we all know. CD, recordable CD, dirt-cheap or more expensive MP3-players, Apple's iPod Shuffle, Nano, Touch and Classic, most mobile phones, any PC, any Mac. In short: a crowded market.
I wonder why Sony took so long time to kill the MD. I'm sure they wouldn't give a product this long nowadays, because indecision costs.

The chance to buy a new MiniDisc is running out. Do-it!

Asahi Business Update

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How big is a smartphone?

There's a race going on now between smartphone brands about who sells the largest smartphone. Samsung is leading the race with its 5.5" screen Note smartphones and the Galaxy S3 with a 4.8" screen. HTC Butterfly has a 5" screen. iPhone5 has a 4" screen. Only a few years back 3" meant a large screen.

How big can a smartphone get before it gets impractical? It depends on who you ask. The answer is more complex than just one number, like 5". It depends on the form factor. With a very wide screen you might have trouble using it with one hand, or even holding it with one hand. If the screen is very high, you might have the same problem.
There's of course a carrying issue with larger phones. A 5" phone might not fit well into the front pocket of your trousers and the back pocket is just too dangerous a place for a smartphone. I usually keep my iPhone in my breast pocket, where it's out of the way of keys, coins and the rest. BTW a silicon phone protection is essential for breast pockets, because it stops the phone gliding out of the pocket. Weight is an important issue too.
Now some people just insist on having big smartphones, and there's a solution for them too. At least if their big one is an HTC Butterfly (5"). Here's the solution: an HTC mini:
The HTC Mini has a number pad and small screen and can be used as a handset companion to the Butterfly (the non-US version of HTC’s Droid DNA) as well as a remote control when the Butterfly is connected to a larger display. The Mini can make calls, display messages and calendar events, and control the shutter on the Butterfly when connected.

It's inevitable that screen sizes will become more diversified. I think size will become fashion. Sometimes small will be all the rage, sometimes big will. I also think pads and phones are so different devices that there will "always" be room for both. Both have their different strengths.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Flat is fine, curved is better!

The old fat TVs used to have a convex curvature. Future TVs will probably be concave, like the largest cinema screens are already. What we see here are some curved screens shown at the CES:

OLED screens like these can be extremely thin and bendable. Bent screens apparently cause a 3D effect, which is said to be dramatic.

The potential of bendable screens is likely to stretch well beyond home cinemas. Samsung showed a bendable screen for use in mobile phones. They use the term flexible (see the Youtube video in the references below), because the user can actually bend the screen himself. It looks quite neat.

Then there's the new use of vending machines. Here's one that'll lend you a MacBook:

I thought it was a joke, but this machine is apparently at the Drexel University in Philadelphia. The machine lends out MacBooks free of charge—with proper ID—for five-hour periods. What's its Raison d'etre? It's not for saving students the money for a MacBook, instead it lets students who are studying at the university's library late into the night, leave their own hardware at home, so they're not a target for thieves on the streets of west Philadelphia. A common problem with Apple products, like the iPhone.

You must have heard of the Java security hole. It hasn't been fixed yet if I'm correctly informed. To be on the safe side you might want to disable your browser's Java plug-in. You'll probably not have to enable it again, because only a small percentage of sites use it.

Refs: (LG bendable screens) (Samsung flexible screen) (Disable Java)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is it a TV or a PC?

It's a Google TV made by LG and it's on display at CES2013. Here it is:

This beautiful piece of hardware can do more than just show TV-programs. 

Being a Google TV of course it has SEARCH and not only that, you can ask it to search by talking to it (voice).

BTW, have you noticed that we tend to communicate with fellow humans more and more by text, while some think we want to communicate with machines by voice?

It further features streamlined access to VOD (Video on Demand), YouTube and apps.

For gamers LG Google TV will offer the OnLive app pre-installed, which will turn this TV into a gaming platform without a separate console. 

You will be able to enjoy hundreds of high quality video games in the cloud. It also has CINEMA 3D TV functionality.