iphone update and apps to spend time

Ok, since the latest scare regarding the iphone being hijacked by a series of invisible text messages, the update to version 3.0.1 was mandatory.

iphone bios ver. 3.0.1

iphone bios ver. 3.0.1

Apparently, malicious code could be sent to the iphone via text messages, and all the rightful owner sees is a short message with a white square. More details in this detailed article.

The bios update is a bulky 240 MB download and you download it via the usual itunes channel.  It will, as usual, back up the current contents of the iphone and then go through the loops of installing and resetting the iphone. It took less than 15-20 minutes including the download time for me, but it was time well worth it.  Highly recommended for all iphone 3G and iphone 3GS owners.

Now, onto something lighter (after all, it’s august).  I have been playing a lot with these free apps for the iphone, and i like them very much. These are not the only free and fun apps residing in my iphone, but they are the ones that keep me busy all the time. Note that all links open in itunes app store:

  1. paper toss game image

    paper toss game image

    paper toss. What you get when you bring together a waste bucket, a desktop fan, and a piece of paper rolled up like a ball: Paper toss. Cleverly simple in principle, all you have to do is throw the paper in the bucket taking care of the wind coming from the fan. Wind speed and direction varies, but mission remains the same: throw the paper in the bucket.   Now, this game has some hidden treasures: try to throw the paper way off-target so that it hits the cubicle next to you and you’re gonna hear from the guy trying to work while you goof off.  The game has three levels of difficulty (easy, medium, and hard) and promises several hours of productivity of doing … nothing.  Beware, if you lose a paper toss, your streak gets erased and you go back to zero (0).
  2. wild west pinball iphone app

    wild west pinball iphone app


    wild west pinball. This is an application for the pinball afficionados with a touch of wild west flare. It includes a bank heist, a gold digg mine, a “kill-dirty-harry” shootout among other things. It has traps on each side of the controls and requires pretty good dexterity and coordination especially when the ball comes tumbling down the middle.  This is aslo a free app.  I would have liked better controls, but this is a great app all around.
  3. toobz free iphone app

    toobz free iphone app


    toobz this is the free version of the same app and offers only five levels. It is a puzzle like game and you got to build a network of interconnected water tubes just before time runs out and water is spilled. The paid apps sells for EU€0.79 and offers more levels than the free version.
  4. trains iphone app

    trains iphone app


    And finally, the one iphone app I paid to download and get addicted to it:
    trains a train dispatcher like application in which you control the switches in a yard and have to steer the incoming trains through their destinations and safely out of the yard. It features three levels: basic, advanced, and insane, and it’s got me addicted. I would have liked separate top score lists based on level but that’s ok. I got it when it retailed for only EU€0.79 but now it is sold for €1.59.

I also got an invitation to review this iLight Farts paid app, but did not get around to doing so yet.

So, there you have it.  Updated iphone and a bunch of fun apps to spend your time.

Enjoy,

I.

PS. If you like any other free (preferably) or not-so-expensive apps, please drop me a line.

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good bye to 2008 with iphone freebies


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As the year 2008 is about to depart (it has already departed in several parts of the globe), I leave you with a few free apps for the iphone, probably the coolest new gadget of the year. All of them are free apps and can be downloaded via itunes and the app store.

1. iSlots, for those who can’t live without their personal slot machine.

iSlots app

iSlots app

2. Black Jack. There is a paid and a free version, but the one we will choose is the free one.

BlackJack Free app

BlackJack Free app

3. Just to get away from the cards, the smoke and the casino atmosphere, FS5 Touch Hockey will help us do just that. One of my favorite apps for visual-motor co-ordination activities (i.e., killing time while pretending to work).

touch hockey app

touch hockey app

Happy New Year 2009.

I.


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happy birthday

Happy birthday to the daily blah blah.

Four years ago today in the friendly pages of blogger.com, this blog saw the light (of the day? of the internet? is there light in the internet?) Link to the first post on the blogspot platform.  Later on, the blog moved to the even friendlier pages of wordpress.com where it still lives and grows.  Link to the actual first post on wordpress about (what else?) a moleskine journal.

It started as a place for daily rants and raves (although the posts came not so regularly). Lately, it has started to deal with issues around open source and free software, the on-going struggle between docx, odf, ms office 2007 and openoffice, moleskine journals, fountain pens and other things that make you say “hmmm…” as the banner suggests.

Well, hats off to the daily blah blah and watch out for more postings coming really soon!


I.

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The perennial question: Emacs or … ?

One of the oldest (if not the oldest) flame wars in newsgroups back in the glory day of rn and command lines was: Emacs v. vi. Who was the best editor, what editor real programmers used and so on. Apparently, this war has been settled once and for all through the amazingly smart and funny and sarcastic webcomic of xkcd.

Here it is in all its glory the definitive answer to the question of Emacs superiority …

Of course, xkcd is absolutely right in praising the virtues of Emacs, the only programming environment you will ever need. Once you get hooked by its appeal, there’s no escape, no going back 🙂

If you want to enjoy more xkcd webcomics, just click to the link above.

Enjoy,

I.

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when sysadmins ruled the earth

You must read “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” (link to full story text), a fantastic, and scary, and grab-you-by-the-throat, and not-want-to-let-it-until-it’s-over story authored by Cory Doctorow.  As Cory writes in his site, he started writing the story just as London was being bombed by terrorists in July 2005.  The story chronicles a doomsday scenario of end-of-the-world apocalypse, with massive attacks and counterattacks (everyone against everyone else) and the attempt of Toronto based sysadmins to keep their servers up and running in the midst of the attack.  The rebuilding of the democratic process, the first cyber elections, the restoration of life are all blended together.  The story earned the 2007 Locus Award for best novelette.

My favorite excerpt:

“I’ve got a 486 downstairs with over five years of uptime. It’s going to break my heart to reboot it.”
“What the everlasting shit do you use a 486 for?”
“Nothing. But who shuts down a machine with five years uptime? That’s like euthanizing your grandmother.”

Please visit and read the story.

I.

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