Intel wireless

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Wireless networking slow, flaky, or crashing your router? Have an Intel 5300, 5100, 6205, 6300 wireless chipset? Disable 802.11n! Has your Intel-based laptop’s wireless connection been bizarrely slow, ... (more)

Like any good free software/open source person I make sure my hardware purchases go towards companies that provide open drivers and specifications. For laptops that means Intel. However they make the flakiest wifi chipsets and their hardware only works reliably (and very slowly) if you disable wireless-n which is very annoying. They should be embarrassed!

Appengine datastore inefficiency

Google has a reputation for efficiency, but their appengine datastore must be the least efficient piece of code I've ever come across. Deleting 10,000 entities took 1,027 cpu seconds (17 cpu minutes). Each entity is 4 write operations (only one indexed property). (I used delete_async on batches of 1,000 at a time.)

It is way more expensive to do the deletion than additions of the same data which really makes no sense.

T-Mobile customer service

I have a line on a family cell phone plan and wanted to terminate that in favour of an individual plan (makes development and other stuff easier). This is staying with the same carrier. You can't do it online, so how many phone calls, representatives and being hung up on would you think a business like Tmobile thinks is acceptable? The final count was 5 phone calls, about 90 minutes in total, 7 different representatives, and being hung up on 3 times (they seem to do it when taking you out of hold). Almost half the representatives were barely intelligible and I had to ask them to speak slowly and clearly (and no they weren't in foreign lands). How do phone companies manage to run their businesses so badly? I'm glad the calls were recorded for quality and training, but it would be nice to see some evidence of that actually happening.

The irony is I barely use my phone for cellular services. The carriers make it quite clear that minutes are rationed, texts are rationed and data is rationed. So I avoid the phone in favour of other mediums that aren't rationed, and there are a heck of a lot of better alternatives (eg cellular voice quality is miserable). It is like they don't want to have long term customers! #tmobilefail

Monoprice lost another sale today

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Roger Binns - Google+ - I wanted a cable and monoprice seemed a good choice. Yet… I wanted a cable and monoprice seemed a good choice. Yet they ... (more)

Monoprice lost another sale today, and of course they don't even know. To quote the individual "ordered from amazon, didn't feel like registering to yet another service". I did take this whole issue up with their support who don't care and don't see the problem, and tried to find out if there was anyone higher in the chain I could contact, but didn't find any.

Aviation video

A wonderful hidef video from an Avianca pilot showing the front view out of an A320 all over South America. It also becomes clear why some people would want to be pilots.

I also quite like the music. I found this when trying to find the official video: SAIL - AWOLNATION

(Source: This was posted on a few aviation blogs some months ago.)

Android app install referrer

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referraltester referraltester - Android app to test analytics referral for android (more)

When an Android app gets installed via the Android Market/Play Store/Finsky it gets told who the referrer was that resulted in the install. This is very helpful for app publishers since they then know who to credit (or blame).

Unfortunately testing this as a developer is quite difficult. It would be impractical to round trip each development build through the market/store, so the next best resort is a way of simulating the behaviour.

Enter referraltester, an open source app written by giago which does that simulation. However it turned out not be accurate, and also had a few usability quirks, so I have scratched the itch and produced an enhanced version at the github link below which includes a list of all the changes and enhancements.

The developer at Google who decided to only call one broadcast receiver despite the platform default behaviour being to call of them owes me many hours of my life back.

Multiple user accounts

It is interesting to see how various online services react to multiple user accounts. This is especially important when you keep your work and personal data and life separate. Consider what email address is attached to an account, where messages containing data are sent, and what happens when people move on.

For example I have 3 Google accounts, one personal and two for two different startups. Google has done a pretty good job - you can login to all 3 in the web interface and switch between them as needed. Some of their products don't work (eg Analytics) but the most commonly used ones do.

On Android you can register all your accounts with the system and on the whole things work well, although G+ doesn't support multiple accounts. Google's apps on iOS don't seem to have multiple user support at all.

I'm currently dealing with Dropbox who seem completely oblivious to the problem. Their support is comical over the issue, and they will lose a paying customer the moment Google Drive works on Linux. Trello is a great tool, but it too suffers from the only one account problem.

For those of us implementing online services this is another thing to make sure we get right.

The 1%

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Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ Buy Galaxy Nexus directly from Google (more)

I'm now a member of the 1%. By that I mean the 1% of Android folk who are running the latest version (ICS/4.0). Doing Android development means that on my desk there are 5 devices running 1.6, 2.2, 2.3, 3.2 and 4.0.

The phone is nice with my first reaction being "holy cow that is big". It is probably only as big in my hands as regular phones are for other people not as tall as me (I'm apparently in the 1% for height too).

Google happily restored my usual apps which turned out to be a half gigabyte download with various random inclusions and omissions. Unfortunately they don't restore the position in the launcher (I like the left most screen to have games, the next one developer tools, the middle one things I use most, right one Google apps etc). Widgets aren't restored either. On my tablet the main screen has a widget "Problem loading widget". It was important enough to put on the home screen, I don't remember what it was, don't want to delete it but haven't spent the time to work out what the widget actually was.

The Android market happily shows every app I have every installed, including those I tried once and didn't like. If only it had some way that I could only show those I've used or rated or some similar way of filtering out the junk.