<Glazblog/>

Monday 9 March 2015

e-junkie's mega FAIL on EU VAT

I have been using e-junkie for my sales of BlueGriffon add-ons and BlueGriffon EPUB Edition for years. Quite happily until recently. But this changed and I am now extremely upset by the way e-junkie dealt with the recent changes in VAT in the European Union.

Until the 31st of december 2014, using them to sell a downloadable product world-wide from a business inside the EU was easy. You only had to set your price without VAT and check a checkbox to apply VAT to your sales to european customers. One single price, one single sales button and shopping basket, e-junkie handled your VAT rate based on your business's country.

Since the 1st of january 2015, the EU rules have changed. A bit painful but certainly not unbearable: the VAT rate to apply to european customers is not based on the business's location any more but based now on the customer's location.

In short, it means that in 2014 e-junkie was determining the VAT rate to apply from an array of 27 values looking for the business's country. In 2015, the value should be retrieved from the customer's value, something that is perfectly doable for e-junkie since it can, at the shopping basket level, require the user to enter his/her country of residence and even the zipcode.

But no, e-junkie declined to do so and completely changed its behaviour overnight. Starting 01-jan-2015, the unique price you set in e-junkie for a product INCLUDES VAT for european customers...

E-junkie leaves a few ugly options to european businesses: have one sales button for EU customers and one for others (urgghhh...), offer a discount code to non-EU customers and other ugly solutions of that kind. E-junkie say they must validate the address and that can be done only after the bank/paypal has accepted the sale or something like that. That argument is not acceptable, since all european users of e-junkie perfectly know some european users cheat and give for instance a US address for downloadable purchases, to avoid paying VAT. It cannot be worse. And the argument that e-junkie had to do this or that does not stand, e-junkie is not a european company and does not have to comply with European Directives, they're outside of the European jurisdiction.

E-junkie has left all its european customers in limbos with respect to EU VAT. It really looks like they did not want to touch their code and UI - that have not changed in years. They already had the array of 27 VAT rates in the EU, and the VAT was  added only after the shopping basket had verified both the customer and the business were in the EU. Their refusal to tweak their code - and as a programmer I cannot believe the change was complex - is a true shame.

Let me state it clearly: this is a failure of a rarely seen magnitude and I am now looking for an alternative to e-junkie dealing better - dealing at all should I say - with EU VAT rates. I have recommended e-junkie to a gazillion of EU businesses. I am now recommending them to flee and find another shopping basket manager.

If you have a suggestion for an alternative to e-junkie, please leave a comment? Thanks!

Monday 2 March 2015

Vivaldi, the browser

Vivaldi is the new kid on the block. It's not a new rendering engine, since it relies on Google's Blink, but it's definitely a new browser.

But I have a gut feeling this is not only a company and a browser. It's also a personal revenge on Opera's current board and the company was formed as such. Jon von Tetzchner has enough capital to do that w/o caring too much about the money, and the words of Tatsuki Tomita, co-founder, « we feel that there is a need for a more powerful browser for people who want more from their browser » are a bit lightweight as a business plan for a free app, really.

Even if it's based on Blink and not on Presto any more, Vivaldi aims at continuing where Opera stopped. The first feedback from users is very clear on that. And no need to comment more on the Opera and Vivaldi names, right?

We'll see where it goes from here, and if Vivaldi's Jon does not become in the future for Opera what NeXT's Steve Jobs became for Apple, something I am 100% sure he has in mind :-)

Lykke til, Jon !

Monday 26 January 2015

En vrac

  • Customers' response to the launch of Samsung Tizen Z1 in India is said to be « freezing cold » and a « failure ». I'm clearly not surprised.
  • -1 again on Samsung Open Source Group's headcount, what a success. Not sure Samsung has even one person in the whole world still working full-time on Servo...
  • but in the meantime, Samsung launched a great DSLR with Tizen inside.
  • IBM announced the Layogeddon. 111,800 persons let go before the end of the month.
  • my Quaxe project received an « E-Toiles d'Or 2015 » award

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Reflections on the Samsung Z1 launch

The difficult steps of Samsung in the software world

Important disclaimer: I worked for Samsung Research America as a full-time contractor from september 2013 to june 2014, and have been maintaining there no contacts but personal ones since then. The following lines represent only my personal opinions and do not contain any detail or information that were not published by the Press before if you except what people having no employment or contractual link with Samsung shared with me between september 2014 and today.

A Tizen-based phone, finally..

After a long, long, really long wait, Samsung finally releases one Tizen-based smartphone to the market. The Z1 is now available in India for a unsubsidized price of 5,700 rupees, so roughly 78€. The full specs of the beast are available for instance here. Here are my thoughts about that release...

First, the name of that smartphone is badly chosen. Very badly even. The successful Sony Xperia Z1 was released Q3 and Q4 2013 and googling Z1 usually drives to the Sony smartphone almost everywhere in the world. Of course, because of the release, references to the Samsung release are now on top of list but that won't last if the Samsung Z1's market does not rapidly increase. As a matter of fact, some of the first Indian articles about the Z1 are not that impressed.

The smartphone is almost similar to the ZTE Open C that runs Firefox OS if you except the fact the Z1 is dual-SIM. Even the price is the same. But the ZTE is available in many countries and received extremely positive reviews even here in France. Firefox OS is also available on a high-end device in Japan, crossing a segment boundary that Samsung does not seem ready to cross with Tizen.

It can run Android apps, through OpenMobile ACL (Applications Compatibility Layer) available in the new Tizen Store (no URL, reachable only from a Tizen device...). This is important and there are many positive and negative things to say about it. First, it shows that despite of injecting literally millions of dollars into software companies, Tizen has not attracted a big enough Apps catalog to live standalone. I even heard last month from a software company that ported its app to Tizen that they don't care about Tizen at all, they just caught Samsung's money and don't plan to update their Tizen app after that.

OpenMobile ACL is not an emulator. Apps should almost run at native Android speed. So that is quite positive from an end-user's perspective if you except one tiny detail: reaching and running Android Apps now rely on third-party software that is another problematic layer in the bigger Android fragmentation issue. OpenMobile ACL say on their web site they provide an AppMall for Android apps. I have no confirmation about this but my first thought is that it is necessary to make sure OpenMobile ACL users only download and try to run apps that are validated, i.e. apps that are known to work under ACL. AppMall is probably integrated into the Tizen Store. So what about the version of Android ACL allows? And what about ACL's updates? No word.

One word about ACL: a "Samsung spokesperson" denied Tizen on the Z1 can run an Android app without having the code re-written. Given what OpenMobile says on their own web site about ACL, I would be more than cautious about the authoritativeness of that clarification...

All in all, OpenMobile ACL's presence in the Tizen Store and the fact it's officially shown as a sales argument is not a good signal for Tizen itself. Will developers have any incentive to develop natively for Tizen? I don't think so. Will ACL's limited openness to the Android world be a problem? Almost certainly. Furthermore, the whole Tizen story was about building an alternative to Android and the Android app ecosystem; that strategy seems to have failed at least in Samsung execs' minds, and Tizen is, at least for the time being, unable to provide Samsung Electronics with such an alternative. I fail to see how that situation could improve in the near-term future without drastic strategic changes.

The Z1 is fueled by Tizen 2.3, released in December 2014, after a loooooong history you can read summarized here. And after so much time and many, many hesitations at Samsung that CNet reported about (launch announced, launch delayed, launch area restricted, launch suspended, again and again), it's amazing to watch the pace of Firefox OS, that went from inception in July 2011 to market availability in nearly 30 countries in December 2014 on phones, TVs, tablets, watches and even a TV stick. Firefox OS also has attracted many app developers, without subsidizing them, because it's a true open HTML5-based platform.

The browser inside the beast is clearly Blink-based, so that's another extremely strong tie to Google. A while ago, Samsung announced a collaboration with Mozilla to work on a new rendering engine, Mozilla Servo. Seen from github, that collaboration seems to have drastically fallen.

That said, let me tell you what I think of Tizen at Samsung.

What's wrong with Samsung's software

Samsung is a hardware leader. This is clear, recognized by all and quite stable. Yeah, well, its smartphone market share may suffer a bit these days but its chips and parts are still everywhere.

But it's nowhere in software (yeah, yeah, I know Samsung is a huge contributor to Linux) because the company and its processes seem mostly unadapted to software. The software stack of my connected Samsung TV sucks, the software bundled with my Samsung laptop all suck so deeply I deleted them, Kies for mobile devices (think iTunes) that is major visibility thing for Samsung is a endless subject of laugh and unfortunately cries for everyone I know, my Samsung S5 was so plagued by ugly UI, system bugs, painfully annoying and totally useless additions to Android that I finally moved back to Apple.. And Tizen is... well... stop the first person around the corner and ask "have you ever heard of Android? iOS? Windows? Tizen?". There are remarkable bits inside Tizen; Linux, EFL and more. It's the whole packaged thing that feels wrong.

To maintain a hardware leadership on devices, Samsung absolutely needs to become a software leader.  That won't be easy. First it needs to adapt to the software engineering culture and that implies opening a full Pandora's box because software engineering culture remains mostly a fact of the western world. To master software, Samsung then needs to move one of its centers of gravity outside of Korea, a true taboo as of today. This not hyper-specific to Samsung; most Korean companies suffer from the same issue and are unable to become global. It also means Samsung must induce a self-revolution to attract software engineers because the projects are exciting and will change the world, and not only because of the salaries, reported as being pretty high on Glassdoor. Samsung is known to be a rather vertical company, and that certainly fits well with hardware processes. It does not fit at all with software ones. All of that will require the implementation of drastic changes in the company. Again, Samsung is far from alone in that situation. Openness of mind is not a message, it's a core feature.

In that perspective, Android is at the same time an enabler and a blocker. Enabler because it clearly helped Samsung reach the #1 position on the mobile phone market but blocker because Android and its Play Store are in the hands of a partner that is also a competitor. Big names own an operating system and a browser stack. You can name four, in alphabetical order, and that's all: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla. Period. The others can reach a #1 position in sales but they will always remain strategically behind these ones because they don't own the full thing.

But Tizen seems to be managed by Samsung, at the highest level and not the technical one, by people who haven't understood at all how to insert it into the market. Or maybe they have and they were blocked by the corporate structure, which is clearly worse.

  1. you can't flash your personal phone, even a Samsung one, with Tizen. Holy cow, read that again: Tizen is heading towards version THREE ZERO and you still can't try it on any personal phone, even a Samsung one.
  2. so-called "reference phones" are so old/weak they cannot trigger developers' or manufacturers' interest. They're also rare and difficult to obtain.
  3. who cares about a Tizen emulator on a desktop computer when there are no phones in the wild...

So Samsung urgently needs to change that. It needs an extra team with one single goal: provide as soon as possible Samsung phone owners all around the world with flashable builds of Tizen for the longest possible device list (and of course easy way back to Android). That's where politics could enter the game, with the tenants of the Google partnership probably refusing collaboration on that ground. This is pure speculation of mine but I would not be surprised if it was later confirmed. The conclusion is simple: if Tizen is thought to be an answer to the decorrelation-from-Google question, then the decision to support and release has to come from the highest level in the company and be very strictly enforced. And if not, Tizen has to be ditched. In my opinion, Samsung must have its own OS stack to be a top player instead of being only a major player. It has to shift a large part of its growth from hardware to software and user experience.

Tizen itself needs, at the technical level, some major love. Its Web API is so different from the stable or proposed W3C API it's utterly shocking. Even the Alarm API, authored on both sides by a former Intel employee who spent a rather short while at Samsung and eventually left to Apple (ahem...), shows incompatible specs. The whole SDK needs a complete review, and revamp. Open Web Standards must be the only ground layer there.

At the UI level, Tizen is almost a clone of an old version of Android, and there is no fun using it. Tizen UI has nothing special, nothing exciting or different. Seen from a meter away, one is unable to say if a given phone is running Android or Tizen. So Samsung needs UI designers totally free to push the limits far beyond what Samsung is usually able to do in terms of UI. You may or may not like the tiles of Windows Phone, but they're a distinctive sign of Microsoft and the slowly but steadily increasing market share of Microsoft seems to indicate many people actually like them. Tizen has nothing like that for the time being.

The app layer is again a tough choice: native or web-based? C++/Java or HTML5? Still or sparkling? It's 2015 and developers should still love to code in, ahem, Java? Seriously? The largest pool of developers in the world is on the Web, every single web page author can be turned into a Web-based app author at very little cost, and the Tizen Z1 will try to gain success using a compatibility layer with Java-based apps? Wow. The future of apps is clearly HTML5-based even if some native apps will remain.

And then comes the browser issue... As I said above, a major corporation that does not own a browser stack is a major player, not a top one. And using Blink inside Tizen preserves a tie to Google that is completely counter-strategic and certainly harms the whole original Tizen plan. Samsung, like all other major smartphone manufacturers, needs a 64-bits multi-threaded rendering engine with parallel layout, to extract the highest performance - and the lowest battery drain - from multicore CPUs. It also needs its own rendering engine because the rendering engine is a core element of most Apps so innovating in that engine is a key factor of market success. Innovation should not be in the hands of a third-party, even a long-time partner and a fortiori not a competitor.

What Samsung needs to do to fix its software effort

My advices to Samsung about Tizen would be the following ones, even if I could say the same to any of their major Android-based competitors:

  1. yes, you need your own OS. It would be a very serious strategic mistake to ditch or even limit Tizen.
  2. no, OpenMobile ACL is not a killer feature, don't forget the downsides and the fact others OSes like Firefox OS can have it too.
  3. no, its current UI and UX are clearly not enough and you need a deep investment there.
  4. no, the way you try to increase Tizen's visibility and external contributions to the Tizen ecosystem does not feel right. Look at how Ubuntu Mobile or Firefox OS built a community and do the same.
  5. no, sorry, Tizen is far behind competitors in terms of modernity and openness. You must implement drastic changes there, and that goes down to the technical layer.
  6. yes, to do that, you must implement globalization. You must implement it anyway for a zillion good reasons. That will require cultural changes and a less vertical organization.
  7. yes, to do that, you also must release Tizen to existing devices, and you must even release nightly builds. Make "early adopters" become your best evangelists.
  8. no, you're not good enough, not open enough and not disruptive enough in the software world. To do something different, you must do it differently and with different people and habits. Accept it and apply it. The more you wait, the harder it will be.
  9. no, you just cannot wed yourselves eternally with Blink. You need your own rendering engine to fully unleash the hardware power of your devices and stimulate the rest of your software innovation. This remark is also valid for the browser on Android, although I'm not sure the new terms of the Android embedding agreement still allow the bundling of an extra browser...
  10. in that light, the Samsung Tizen Z1 could, perhaps, address the low-end segment of the market in some geographic areas but it's hardly the announcement of a new and successful OS ecosystem.

Update: mention of Android 2.3 for ACL in Z1 deleted after new input.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Sims4 WTF

My son Gabriel got as a present the Sims4 game for Windows. He tried to install it on his Win7 Ultimate 64bits box but no luck at all, Origin crashing in msvcr100.dll with a c0000417 error. Despite of looking everywhere for an hour, we could not find a fix. Since I'm sure some of my readers have already hit - and solved - this issue, can you please help? Thanks a lot !

Thursday 18 December 2014

Logo sur MO5/TO7/TO9, une tranche de vie (de geek)

À cause de Samy Rabih sur twitter, on vient de me rappeler un épisode plutôt sympa de ma vie de geek... Quelques jours après le bac, mes profs de physique et maths de terminale, Patrick Foulon (désormais directeur du Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques à Marseille, cordial salut à lui s'il lit ces lignes) et Francis Rabany (un pote, un type en or avec un coeur grand comme ça, malheureusement décédé en 1997), m'ont contacté à cause de ma très forte tendance à occuper la salle d'informatique de l'école pendant toutes mes heures libres. Enfin presque toutes mes heures puisque je m'occupais aussi du Labo Photo de l'école avec la très charmante et très délicieuse Catherine Leclere-Bessonnet. Réunion avec eux dans des locaux derrière le périph Porte d'Orléans. En gros, ils montaient une boîte de logiciels éducatifs avec Belin et me proposaient d'écrire from scratch, pour le plan Thomson MO5/TO7/TO9 de l'Éducation Nationale, un langage LOGO complet...

J'ai commencé à bosser dessus immédiatement, avec des grands plongeons dans la ROM et le processeur 6809 pour l'accès au crayon optique. J'ai pour la première fois de ma vie passé mes vacances d'été dans les Landes avec une bécane complète (et c'était pas un laptop et y'avait pas de connectivité hein). Rabany et moi passions des heures au téléphone chaque jour pour la définition des fonctionnalités, c'était un vrai bonheur. Le plus pénible était la sauvegarde sur cassette, qui pour éviter le piratage (tu parles!!!) utilisait un décalage en fréquence rendant la recopie de cassette sur cassette impossible sans matériel trafiqué. Enfin, ça ne m'a pas arrêté très longtemps hein :-)

Fin août, l'interpreteur était fini, avec plein de basic et d'assembleur dedans après donc moins de deux mois de développement. Il était très simple, super-lightweight, avec de la vraie récursivité et tout. Fin septembre, il était sous jaquette et vendu à l'EN. Je dois encore avoir une copie d'origine chez mon père...

Si vous avez fait du LOGO à l'école sur un ordinateur Thomson dans les années 80, c'était donc à cause de moi. Désolé :-)

Thursday 13 November 2014

Tech journalists

Long ago, there was Cnet's Paul Festa. When Festa went (finally) away, I thought we could take tech journalism practices back to normal. Seems I was wrong. Here's a summary of things that happened to me in the last months:

The unpolite

  • (someone to me) Hello Daniel, I am forwarding below an interview request from a journalist who says he misses your email to ping you
  • (me to that someone) thanks, will reply.
  • (me to journalist) got your request, expect answer to all questions soon
  • (me to journalist) here are the replies. Best regards.
  • ...
  • ...

No ACK, no thanks, no reply, no notification the article will be published, no notification the article was published. In short, the journalist never said me a single word directly. That person is now blacklisted. Can still leave that black list if there are some sort of apologies.

The impatient

  • (journalist to me at 7pm PST) hello M. Glazman, I'm writing an article about blah, I know you're based in Europe but could I call you on the phone in the next half hour?
  • ...

7pm PST is 4am here. I was of course in front of my computer at 4am waiting for a journalist's email and ready to take a call from the US at 4:30am. Of course.

The painful

  • (journalist to me) so what's your activity/title at W3C?
  • (me to journalist) I am co-chairing the CSS Working Group

Article is published, of course w/o notification. I am listed there as "W3C Chairman". Obviously.

The bastard

  • (me to journalist) hello, you interviewed me a few weeks ago and now that the article is published (you did not notify me, did you?), I discover at least one paragraph with quotes from me completely opposite to what I precisely said. What I precisely said is « blah », and you can see it's totally different from the contents of the article so could you please fix this in your article?
  • (journalist to me) this is not my recollection of the interview
  • (me to journalist) well, you recorded the interview so you can check ; please check.
  • (journalist to me) sorry but I don't have time for that
  • (me to journalist) again, the words put in my mouth by your article are absolutely not the ones I said, will you fix them yes or no?
  • ...

No answer, article unfixed. Journalist permanently blacklisted.

The ghost

  • (very polite journalist to me) hello Daniel, first let me introduce myself blah blah if you have some time to answer some questions, I'd be happy to blah blah and best regards looking forward to blah blah
  • (me to journalist) sure, no problem ! send me your questions and I'll reply immediately !
  • (me to journalist) hello, did you send your questions?
  • (me to journalist) hello, I still haven't received your questions...
  • ...

Strange, to say the least.

The rough

  • (journalist to me, precise words, only translated from french) hello, I am a journalist at blah, here are 5 questions. Please answer.
  • ...

In one word only: no. I was polite enough to reply "No, thanks".

The out-of-scope

  • (journalist to me) hello, would you answer a few questions about the future of PHP?

Do I really need to explain?

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Quaxe

I am playing a lot these days with Haxe and waxe, the wxWidgets bindings library for Haxe. I have then decided to dedicate a blog to my Haxe ramblings, and that blog is Quaxe (pronounced of course quacks, I am a duck lover...).

Monday 29 September 2014

ParisWeb Lightning Talks !

Il est encore le temps de soumettre des Lightning Talks pour ParisWeb ! Robin et moi attendons de pied ferme vos propositions ! Utilisez le formulaire ici.

Friday 26 September 2014

WebKit embedded in a standalone OS X app you could write in ten minutes

  1. install Haxe: download it from here
  2. install nme and hxcpp: in a terminal, type
    • haxelib install hxcpp
    • haxelib install nme
  3. install my own build of waxe-works (that's only needed to build my own fork of waxe, the haxe lib for wxWidgets); in a terminal type:
    • cd <a_safe_place>
    • git clone https://github.com/therealglazou/waxe-works.git
    • cd waxe-works
    • git checkout addWebViewWebKit
    • cd build
    • neko build.n
    • haxelib dev waxe-works <a_safe_place>/waxe-works
  4. install my own build of waxe; in a terminal type
    • cd <a_safe_place>
    • git clone https://github.com/therealglazou/waxe
    • cd waxe
    • git checkout WebView
    • cd project
    • neko build.n ndll-mac-m32
    • haxelib dev waxe <a_safe_place>/waxe
    • haxelib remove waxe-works
  5. build my example (and don't forget to look at the trivial source):
    • cd <a_safe_place>/waxe/samples/04-Simple
    • haxelib run nme test Simple.nmml mac

The cool part is of course step 5. The rest is environment's setup only. Look at the source, recognize very common wxWidgets stuff there, and compare to other ways of embedding WebKit... Click on the thumbnail below to see a screenshot of the resulting OSX app.

Screenshot of demo

Friday 1 August 2014

Proud father

I'm a proud father! My son Michel, 15 years old, has published his first game on the Google Play Store! It's a bit rough around the edges but I'm so proud! :-)

Wednesday 28 May 2014

from iPhone 4S to Samsung S5

I switched from an iPhone 4S (and an iPhone 2G before that) to a Samsung S5 a month and a half ago and it's probably time to summarize what that change meant to me from both hardware and software points of view.

Hardware

I loved my iPhone 4S's hardware for the following reasons:

  • metal and glass, feels and is robust
  • side button to mute it or block rotation
  • excellent control of iTunes through the headphones' chord: one click to pause, two clicks to move to next song, three clicks to move to previous song
  • lots and lots of accessories
  • battery charging really fast!

I started disliking my iPhone 4S for the following reasons:

  • screen too small and I thought the iPhone 5S was a too expensive and not interesting enough upgrade
  • rather bad sound quality of the too fragile headphones
  • the buttons on the headphones' chord don't work well when it's very cold outside
  • battery is not removable
  • impossible to add a microSD card
  • rear camera too far behind state of art
  • screen quality too far behind state of art
  • loudspeaker not loud enough
  • rather poor 3G reception and no 4G
  • all covers and case add too much to phone's thickness

I love the S5's hardware for the following reasons:

  • laaaaarger and much higher quality screen
  • removable battery and better battery life than the 4S
  • microSD card slot
  • the View Cover of the S5 is very, very nice
  • the induction-charging View Cover is even nicer...
  • dust- and water-proof
  • very good rear camera
  • loudspeaker is loud
  • micro-USB
  • excellent WiFi, Bluetooth and 4G
  • IR to control my TV and set-top box
  • fingerprint reader

What I don't really like in S5's hardware:

  • plastic... When you come from the iPhone 4S, the S5 feels a bit like a toy
  • less accessories
  • it's easy to scratch the metal-like plastic border of the phone
  • no button to mute or block the rotation; I know this can be done easily with a few clicks but, unlike the 4S, I need to remove the phone from my pocket for that
  • the heartbeat sensor is not precise enough and it's rather hard to make it work properly
  • the + and - volume buttons are not separated
  • apparently, three clicks on the headphone's chord does not move to previous song; or it does not work here.
  • the wonderful temperature sensor of the S4 is gone in the S5

Software

I really appreciated my iPhone 4S for the following reasons:

  • iTunes worked well on my Mac; the UX of iTunes seems to me almost unbeatable despite of a few flaws.
  • simplicity and intuitiveness of the whole iOS UI
  • homogeneous UI/UX of almost all apps in the iOS ecosystem, making them in general very intuitive to use
  • iOS preferences are easy to deal with even if they lack a few things
  • trivial Airplay
  • I used a lot an application called "Notes de Frais" for my expense reports. Superbly done and maintained.
  • new OS releases are announced
  • I loved the keyboard and some of its features like switching back automatically to regulars chars after the insertion of an apostrophe, something important when you write in french
  • kinetic scrolling has always been superb
  • worked beautifully with my car's infotainment system.

I was increasingly fed up with the following things in my 4S:

  • my 4S was having a lot, really a lot of trouble, finding a network provider abroad in less than 15 minutes. I often had to shut it down and reboot it for that. Very annoying. Let me put that in the software section as a bug.
  • not enough options in the floating panel of the home screen.
  • no widgets on the home screen
  • too slow to add new features
  • no other browser than Safari; I should say no other rendering engine

S5 and its Android stack won me with:

  • no more roaming issues
  • widgets on home screen
  • lot of options on the home screen's floating panel
  • still lots of apps
  • Smart Booster to use WiFi and 4G together
  • Eco Mode making the battery last days and days
  • private mode
  • Smart Stay, my phone does not go to standby if it can see my eyes...
  • I can use Firefox...
  • I don't use NFC yet but I'm glad it's in

But there are things I am still not used to:

  • I need a replacement for Kies, that I don't like. Any recommendation?
  • no rotation of the home screen?
  • the home screen's floating panel can contain 10 shortcuts and only ten. WHY ONLY TEN?
  • Google, google, google everywhere
  • Contacts offer by default only one Name field. Not two FirstName and Name fields.
  • Android preferences are just a true PITA. It's a mess of epic magnitude, some prefs being completely impossible to understand or sometimes hidden in an unexpected section of the preferences. Geekiness maxima.
  • why the hell is Calendar named S Planner? Seriously?
  • no native DLNA, I add to install the Samsung Link app
  • rotation is sometimes too slow
  • keyboard is not predictive enough and has too small keys; I too often hit the wrong key
  • I still have not figured how to reproduce the apostrophe behaviour of the iOS keyboard described above. Help!
  • bloatware I never used and will almost certainly never use
  • apps UI is too heterogeneous. Not enough intuitiveness. Some apps offer a back button between screens, some rely on the back hardware button, some allow both.
  • all my attempts to find a decent equivalent to my iOS expense report app, with a very good currency management, failed
  • the weather widget takes 1/3rd of the screen! Seriously? I don't need it to show time, I only want local weather. Could be just an icon. In general, widgets eat far too much screen space.
  • works some times weirdly with my car's infotainment system. From time to time, I can't reach my contacts list from the car.
  • some issues with kinetic scrolling and zooming.

All in all, I am a happy S5/Android user. I am pretty sure the UI issues of Android will fade away with new releases. It feels like I'm back in 2014 again.

Update: comments closed, thanks to trolls.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

MIME

Après mon billet précédent, on vient de me demander si j'avais encore des screenshots de mon agent de messagerie MIME. Il se trouve que oui : c'est visible ici. Les fichiers ont pour date 2003 mais ils ont en fait pas loin de dix ans de plus... Pour mémoire, à l'époque, on envoyait des attachements en utilisant uuencode et uudecode...

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Le rapport de Tariq Krim

À mon immense surprise (c'est Thierry Stoehr qui m'a prévenu), je me retrouve dans la « Liste d'une centaine de développeurs marquants » (à la page 175) que Tariq Krim a du remettre avec son rapport à Fleur Pellerin, la ci-devant Ministre déléguée aux PME, à l'Innovation et à l'Économie numérique. Sincèrement, je suis flatté et c'est tout à fait inattendu. Je suis juste un petit bout'd'mec tombé enfant dans la babasse, qui adore ça, et qui tente de faire bien ce qu'il fait. Le reste est venu comme un effet de bord, dirons-nous. Bon j'ai aussi la joie d'y retrouver des potes, dont le bon Ludovic Dubost et le toujours étonnant Paul Rouget, l'incroyable Bortzmeyer, y revoir la bonne frimousse d'un Wolfhugel (que le temps passe Christophe, mais que le temps passe...), le délicieux Patrick Chanezon, l'ineffable Samuel Tardieu, les excellents Christophe Massiot, Maurice Svay, Stéfane Fermigier, Hadrien Gardeur, Sébastien Tricaud (long time no see Sébastien !).

Merci Tariq. Je note que tu n'es pas rancunier - ou en tous cas pas trop - ce qui fait plaisir. La prochaine bière est pour moi.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Haxe

I have just discovered Haxe and haxecpp and I am totally blown away. This is what I was dreaming of and I did not know about it. I am going to use it immediately for my personal projects. Wow, just wow.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Windows 8.1 preview in VirtualBox on a OSX host

You will probably hit an error as soon as your run the VM... To avoid it, open a Terminal and run a list vms command to find the name of your Windows 8.1 VM. Then add some processor data to your VM:

cd /Applications/VirtualBox.app/Contents/MacOS/
./VBoxManage list vms
"Ubuntu 13.04 32bits" {2fc6aab2-689a-48bc-9f52-b37052124f27}
"Ubuntu 13.04 64bits" {73101f39-2b02-4a69-b89b-8d5baa1063d1}
"Windows 8.1" {84433f7a-c1b4-41a5-abe0-220650943c16}
./VBoxManage setextradata "Windows 8.1" VBoxInternal/CPUM/CMPXCHG16B 1

Now you can run your Windows 8.1 VM. Hope that helps...

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Opera+SkyFire

There is something I didn't get about the new WebKit-based Opera for Android.. It's now clearer. So in normal browsing mode, the rendering engine is WebKit. But in "mini" mode, the rendering engine, server-side, is still Presto, right? I don't think the teams had enough time to move to a WebKit-based server farm.

A while ago, SkyFire was a Gecko-based solution. Fellow mozillian Alex Vincent worked for them on that and I contracted for them too. But SkyFire switched to WebKit two years ago and they're a server-side browsing solution. So SkyFire was acquired for that. Well not only for that, but that's certainly a major point.

Until full integration of SkyFire into Opera's servers is achieved, users should probably expect browsing differences switching between "normal" and "mini" mode...

Monday 28 January 2013

Major hickups at PayPal

Apparently, PayPal performed a system upgrade last friday. Since this morning, bluegriffon.com's sales are experiencing severe delays between the payments done using PayPal and the notifications sent by PayPal to the shopping baskets or sellers. One of my customers has now been waiting for an hour for the notif, and my systems still have not received the notif from PayPal.

Update: this seems to be global. Other online sellers experiencing same issue. Some say the delays reach, I quote, several hours ! HEY PAYPAL WHAT'S GOING ON?!?

Wednesday 12 December 2012

All about DRMs in one single tweet

fsck DRMs

Thursday 21 June 2012

Twitter is down world-wide...

...and nobody can even tweet about it ;-)

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