Marco’s hideout

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Constellation Orion

Trying to reproduce the Akira Fuji method, which looks easier than it is.

multifunctional webcam privacy tool

Apparently, hackers (or worse, government) can access your webcam without the notification LED switching on. The dutch ministry advised users to put a piece of tape on your webcam when not using it. But that's a sticky situation.. Some companies are now making their own removable "webcam privacy tools".

But why spend money on something when you already have the tools? For most laptops a clothes pin will work perfectly. Just place it over the little webcam lens and voila, no more sneaky peeking. And as an added bonus, you can use it to place your glasses or hang your earbuds!


Audio Junkie: The ZZZ's

Discovered a day ago. Noticed I missed their performance in Utrecht. Damn. But quite a few bits on Youtube, be prepared for some noise:

Pixelmator team unveils Pixelmator 3.0 FX

Woah, I totally missed this one. My favorite photo editing app on the Mac is now updated to version 3.0. Lots of new tools and big enhancements for OS X Mavericks support.

Check it out the announcement on their blog and get the app in the Mac App Store. It's a free update for existing users. Yes, free!

Nokia and Apple introduce things

Tuesday October 22nd was a busy day for technology geeks. Both Apple and Nokia had an event, and both were streamed live.

Unfortunately for Nokia, most of their news was soon pushed to the second news page by all shiny stuff that Apple introduced. Which is kind of sad for them. 

Geeksphone Peak Firefox OS 1.2 quick impressions

Recently Geeksphone release an 1.2 version of Firefox OS for their devices. After some issues updating my device (I thought I had the Android stuff installed, but I guess I did not, so I had to update adb and fastboot to get it working), the install went flawless and immediately the device shows a lot more maturity in interface and use.

The same goes for quite a few apps, that are now more complete and render perfect on the Peak. 

A nice addition is that the OS now supports multiple languages, so I could set the device to Dutch and actually have a 24H format time. It's still weird that this is depending on the device language, the time and date format should have been a separate locale setting. Probably in a later update.

After my erroneous conclusion that the camera had White Balance issues, I got a reply that the lens still had the blue protection foil over it. And indeed it did, removing it made the blue colors disappear and images now look a lot more neutral. At least on the device, I didn't download the pictures on my computer yet. 

Firefox OS grows on me, and I hope it will get some big names convinced to join in the app development community. 

Another initiative aims to get everyone to develop their own apps: Appmaker. A web based interface, in very alpha phase, to create apps for the FFOS platform. Very basic so far, but this looks very promising!

I'll continue to use the Peak and post occasional impressions on this blog. 

Geeksphone Peak Firefox OS smartphone first impressions

Well, that was quick, after ordering the Peak on Tuesday, it already arrived via UPS today (Friday). Nice small recycled packaging as well.

After the first start, immediately 2 updates were available, one system update and a map update. The system update triggered a package manager, not something you see often on a smartphone:

When setting up the Peak, you get the option to import contacts from Facebook, which is pretty nice.

The UI feels a bit sluggish and apps are slightly awkward. Definitely developer preview status. A lot of options you find on an iPhone are not there, like setting 24H clock instead of AM/PM. Some trivial items seem to be overlooked, probably because they are easy to overlook.

Some nice backgrounds available.

Even though this phone uses Firefox OS and Firefox browser, I cannot find any option to enable Mozilla Sync service. Odd.

I expected the Peak to open as a generic USB device on my Mac, and it does, after you enable USB Mass Storage in the Media Storage Preferences.

Here's a first bug. The EXIF in the images is incorrect. The date is set at a default value 12:00 at 8 dec 2002.

Also, it seems that the camera (and software) struggles to get the right whitebalance. The images turn out way too cool.

Also, why are the images recorded at 1280x960 and not full resolution? Kind of a waste of 8mp camera. I did not find a camera setting (yet) to change this.

Video is recorded in crappy 3gp format, in low resolution. Don't expect to record HD movies with the Peak.

Try the obligatory cat movie for yourself here.

I tried opening forecast.io in Firefox and although it is fully functional, the site is opened in desktop view, which is annoying on a smartphone.

Hardware wise it seems like a pretty nice phone, although I've managed to let it slip from my hands twice already, due to the plastic back and rounded edges. It's a bit soapy for my feeling.

I applaud the initiative and I hope developers will flock en masse to Firefox OS and get some interesting apps on the device.

There's still a lot of work to do, especially on the apps side of things. See the screenshot of Zombie Lines, a puzzle game.. Somehow it doesn't take up the whole screen, but only a very small part of it.

The one thing I really like is the multitask view, where you press & hold the home button which will then show the currently running apps.

Pretty nifty and useful.

Anyway, these were my first impressions, more to come, I will try to get a SIM and use it as a phone as well. Funny though, the Peak takes regular SIM cards, and of course, after iPhone 4 and 5 those sizes do not live in my house anymore :-)