Monday 31 October 2011

News & Technology: iPhone 4S Battery Problem?

In the exchange of comments with Celia in the last entry, she mentioned that there has been complaints about the battery life of the iPhone 4S, which I thought was a unique issue to the Galaxy SII. Today when I went on to Google News, the first news I saw was the following one by The Guardian.

iPhone 4S battery life problems: bug in location services suspected

User tests suggest that bug in iOS 5 may be polling mobile mast data too frequently and running down battery
Location services on iPhone 4S
System location services on iPhone 4S: using too much battery?
A flaw in Apple's location services system in its new iOS 5 software is increasingly suspected of being the cause of rapid battery drain for some owners of the iPhone 4S.
A growing number of people have found that the "Setting Time Zone" element of the Systems Services within the broader Location Services product seems to be operating even when there is no chance that the user would have moved to a different location or time zone. An icon beside the setting, which indicates whether it has been used in the past 24 hours, suggests that it is running repeatedly to access the phone's location even when there is no apparent reason to do so.
Location services can prompt large drains on any smartphone's battery: they use a combination of the Wi-Fi network name, where available, plus mobile mast data and GPS sensor input, to calculate the phone's position. The mobile mast data, for example, is usually calculated by comparing the strength of signals from the three nearest phone masts and triangulating against them. However if such a calculation is made too often, by polling the masts, it will begin to use battery power unnecessarily.
On iDownloadBlog, Oliver Haslam suggests: "it appears that iOS 5′s GM release introduced a bug that causes the Setting Time Zone function to keep the location tracking circuitry running constantly, draining battery power considerably. Switching it off may mean that your iPhone will no longer set its own time zone when you travel, but that's a small price to pay for having your iPhone last more than 12 hours on a full charge… We have tested this method on 4 different iPhone 4s handsets, including an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 3GS. All have reported drastically improved battery life after switching 'Setting Time Zone' off."
Some commenters have suggested they see little difference, but the purple icon beside the setting indicates that it is active - and for many people will have been active during the past 24 hours.
Apple's use of location services is deeply integrated into the iPhone 4S and iOS, but others have suggested that it is consuming too much battery power. "Two years working with dedicated GPS units taught me to be extremely careful with GPS settings: [it] kills battery very fast," David Hamilton, a web and Java consultant, remarked on Twitter.
Discussions on Apple's support boards are still raging over what specifically could be draining the battery so much more rapidly. Apple has not so far made any comment, but the Guardian reported on Friday that its engineers have begun contacting some people who have been reporting exceptionally rapid use.
The Guardian's own latest tests on an iPhone 4S found that it achieved 36 hours of battery life with a mixture of Wi-Fi, mobile data, and combined use, including 6 hours' using apps, phones, browsing and some location services. The majority of that included having the "Setting Time Zone" tab activated. There is no data yet from the ongoing tests about what effect disabling it has had.
• The "Setting Time Zone" setting can be found in Settings -> Location Services -> scroll to bottom to "System Services" -> Setting Time Zone.
Updated: corrected name to iDownloadBlog, not iDownload

Actually, with a software constantly updating itself, up and downloading information, for sure it will drain your battery, so it is advisable to switch off unused GPS apps and notifications no matter you are on iPhone 4S or other smartphones,  but I chose to buy an extra battery pack just to play safe. I went to Broadway the other day and bought a $68 Tekcomm Li-ion battery pack and I've been using it for the last 2 days. So far so good, but a battery at such a low price makes me think that there must be a catch to it, something must be absent in the design or else it wouldn't be so cheap. So I went on to do my research.

First thing I did was of course to research on the company. Tekcomm didn't provide much information on their website, but it does list out the number of different models of lithium batteries they produce, and it does say it is a Hong Kong company. Whether that implies good quality is a subjective opinion, but it does mean its products should comply with the regulations of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department of Hong Kong. But must Tekcomm follow the regulations? That I suppose is up to the company itself and nothing is guaranteed.

Then why not buy the original factory manufactured battery? Well, because it costs more than $200, that makes a huge difference! Anyway, I suppose no company will replace my phone no matter which battery it catches fire with. Paying more means you get less chances of catching a phone fire? I really don't know about that.

Still the most important thing to remember is to maintain the battery temperature, so watching it closely while it is charging is advisable, and of course, try not to put the phone into my trousers pockets.

In the future entry, I will be working on some facts of the lithium batteries, so follow the playground if you are interested in the topic.

flaw -- (n)[C] a fault, mistake or weakness, especially one that happens while something is being planned or made, or which causes something not to be perfect
drain-- (n) [S] something that uses more of your energy, money or time than you want to give
rage -- (n) [C or U] (a period of) extreme or violent anger
catch -- (n) [S] a hidden problem or disadvantage
comply (with) --  [I] formal to act according to an order, set of rules or request


Technology & Opinions: iPhone 4(S) VS Samsung Galaxy SII @ Locky's English Playground

iPhone 4S battery life problems: bug in location services suspected @ The Guardian


Electrical and Mechanical Services Department

Friday 28 October 2011

Technology & Opinions: iPhone 4(S) VS Samsung Galaxy SII

iPhone 4 and Galaxy SII
Photo by Locky's English Playground

Too many people have been making their comparisons of the two phones for a long time. And yes it may sound useless to do a comparison now because so many others have already done it. But when you actually get to spend time with the two phones, the iPhone 4 and the Galaxy SII, like 16 hours a day, switching from one to another, I do have comments which are different from other critics.

Or maybe not, anyway, I just want to write my own review for the two phones.

I have been thinking whether I should do this review in a traditional way comparing specifications and details, but if I do follow this pattern, I will fall into the same track as the other reviews, so I'm going to do this review in an extremely subjective way!!!

Weight and Grip
First, I like the Galaxy SII being super light, lighter than the iPhone 4(S), but that is just the first feeling, when you start using it without the protective casings, iPhone feels better on my hand and I can type better with one hand due to the narrower size, Galaxy SII is too big for my one-hand grip and too light to stablise, so it does spins around on my small palm. But if your hand is big, I think Galaxy SII will serve you better with bigger keys to press on the bigger screen. And the over-underweight problem of the Galaxy SII can be solved by adding the protective casing, or a silicon one will also increase the grip.

Anyway, I don't recommend anyone typing on the phones with just one-hand holding onto it.

Verdict: iPhone 4(S) wins marginally.

Image from
Screen Size
I just love the 10.8cm (4.3 in) Super AMOLED on the Galaxy SII!!! It is so crisp! It is an addiction! The colours are so sharp!!! And the size... man!!! Size does matter in this world! iPhone 4(S)'s screen size made me dizzy after using for a short while.

Verdict: Galaxy SII beats up iPhone 4 badly!!!!!

Image from igitaltrends
In the past, I heard reviews from the internet saying that App Store from Apple has far more apps than the Android Market, but when I actually do search through the Store and the Market, even if App Store may still have more apps, yet really useful ones? I don't see too many. Pay ones I do see a lot. But one good thing about the Android Market is that they have many useful ones which are free!!!! Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, and Angry Birds Seasons are FULL versions available on the Android Market for free!!!! I will definitely start recommending apps in the future, but for now, the Angry Birds game have already saved me quite a bit of money. Plus, Samsung has its Samsung Apps for you to download free apps which are not available in the market, it isn't very big, but it is free.

Verdict: Galaxy SII's Android Market beats iPhone 4(S)'s App Store in terms of free apps

I started off learning from the iPhone first before I learn to use the Galaxy SII, at first I thought iPhone operations are hard and difficult, if I didn't have my sister to teach me, I wouldn't know how to use it without reading the instruction booklet, although once I have got used to it, it gets better and more user-friendly. Galaxy on the other hand, didn't take more too long to get a hand of it. Page-to-page is really smooth and quick except the arranging of apps which turns out to be completely different from iPhone and took me 2 days to figure out how to arrange them.

Verdict: Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4(S) are both fine as long as you learn how to handle the interface. Tied.

Battery Life:
Galaxy SII's battery life is really dries up faster. At times, you can lose 10% of your battery in 10 mins if you are playing games with volume! Battery Save Mode can be adjusted to switch on when the battery is down to 70%, and you can switch off many applications before that, but still, feeling wise, I still think the iPhone's battery lasts longer than Galaxy SII's. Some users buy an extra battery pack to be safe, while I bring the charger with me for the Galaxy SII. The recharging is quick if you use the plug charger, so that is fine, but if you are really looking for long lasting battery life, then the original battery which comes with the Galaxy SII isn't going to do very well as it is only 1650 mAh (The iPhone 4 has even less at 1420 mAh), but the good thing is you can change your battery pack when you think it is not enough.

Verdict: iPhone 4(S) wins in terms of battery life, but Galaxy SII allows you to up that battery.

Camera and Image Quality
So I don't know how the performance of the camera on the iPhone 4S is like, but from what I've heard, it has this zero shutter lag which allows it to take quick photos. As of Galaxy SII, I don't think it is as fast as zero shutter lag, but the image quality of the SII is definitely better than the iPhone 4 and should be more or less similar to the iPhone 4S'.

Verdict: Unsure about this one, but I suppose 4S has a slight edge over SII in terms of speed, but image quality wise, similar.

Resistance to Drop
From the drop test video that I have posted some entries ago, titled News & Opinions: iPhone 4 Steve? Siri-ously? What about iPhone 5teve?, we knew that Galaxy SII wins big time in this one! No doubt about that! I beat that Siri knows the answer for this now.

Verdict: Samsung Galaxy SII wins! Period.

Operating System & Tools
Synchronising the phones using iTunes or Kies are more or less the same, but since I don't really need to Jailbreak anything on the Galaxy S2, I'm not as annoyed with the Kies as I am with the iTunes. The openness of the Android Gingerbread system is really more welcome than the protection-freak of the iOS.

Verdict: Android Gingerbread is less protective and thus more friendly than the iOS.

Talking about increasing your smartphones, iPhone doesn't let you change your battery, doesn't let you add memories but Galaxy SII lets you do both! If you are planning to build a super smartphone, Galaxy SII gives you that advantage and remains good looking. If you want to do the same with the iPhone, you will need to add bits and pieces outside of the phone, making it real clumsy and ugly.

Verdict: Galaxy SII keeps his cool while iPhone 4(S) has to gain weight. SII wins!

Resell Value
Not sure about other countries, but in Hong Kong, the second-hand reselling price of all iPhones beats all other mobiles by a full stretch. If it wasn't for this factor, I will have already considered Galaxy SII for sure, but if you are looking for money-back through the years, then iPhone has a definite advantage! But if you happen to get a faulty iPhone 4(S), then you will most likely end up getting a fixed phone (possibly with scratches) used to be owned by someone else instead of a brand new one. Try your luck really!

Verdict: iPhone 4(S) wins big time, if it never has anything wrong that is.

So the final decision is, I just love the Galaxy SII now!!!

I have included two more articles on the Galaxy SII, you may want to read up on it too.

Samsung Galaxy S II: More diamond, less rough @ BGR

Samsung overtakes Apple to win smartphone crown @ CNET

clumsy -- (adj) awkward in movement or manner

News & Opinions: iPhone 4 Steve? Siri-ously? What about iPhone 5teve? @ Locky's English Playground

iPhone 4S Camera Hands-on Review @ YouTube

[ENG] Samsung Apps & Kies Tutorial (English) - Official video @ YouTube

Samsung Galaxy S II: More diamond, less rough @ BGR

Samsung overtakes Apple to win smartphone crown @ CNET

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Books: "Show Me How" to be "The Complete Photographer"

I don't usually walk bookstores nowadays, especially when most of the information I need can be found on the internet or from ebooks which I have downloaded from the internet, and since I'm really a computer guy who is capable of reading off tiny little words from the monitor screen for hours, I really don't prefer to stand inside a bookstore anymore.

But when I do walk into one, sometimes I do find something good! (Then I will go online to find the ebooks and download them). The lesson learnt -- it is always good to take a walk in a bookstore.

Anyway, I have two books I would like to recommend.

Photo by Locky's English Playground
The first 2 books are for those of you who are like me, who like to learn something about everything. Show Me How and More Show Me How by Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith. The books contain illustrations and descriptions guiding you to do various things, from crafting a paper penguin to using voodoo dolls, learning to dance to peeling and deveining a shrimp. Just reading the content page and you will already find tonnes of words to learn! Too bad they are not yet available for downloading. Joint Publishing is selling them at a discount and I'm seriously thinking about getting them.

Image from Tom Ang
The third book is The Complete Photographer by Tom Ang featuring various world-class photographers. Inside this book, there are tutorials, assignments, notes and tips, from the most basic field of depth to analysizing the composition of a good scenery photograph. Photographs used in the book are taken by world-class photographers and they are miraculously beautiful! Joint Publishing is offering the book at half price at around $150. I am seriously thinking about getting it if I still can't find the ebook.

One more thing, Tom Ang has his own website,, which has a number of amazing photographs he took. There is also a book list of other books he has published and you may like to look into the others to decide on which one to buy.

Happy reading!!!

craft -- (vb)  [T often passiveto make objects, especially in a skilled way
voodoo doll -- (n)[C] 

Image from scaryforkids
devein -- (vb) [T] demoving the veins from a shrimp or a fish


Show Me How: 500 Things You Should Know Instructions for Life From the Everyday to the Exotic

Browse Inside @ Harper Collins Publishers

Tom Ang

The Complete Photographer @Google Books

Monday 24 October 2011

News & Opinions: Today's News Digest

Today, I decided to act as a news anchor, bringing you some of the most interesting news online for your reading.
Image from bbc
Kicking off with the magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale earthquake in Turkey, killing 200 and injured 1000, aftershocks up to magnitude 6.0 were recorded and death toll is expected to rise as the temperature remains 7-12 degrees Celsius.

Image from Reuters
Moving to the middle East, Libya declares liberation following the killing of Muammar Gaddafi's 42 years of ruling. Horrific photos of Gaddafi's body are widely spread on the internet but they have not hindered the Libyans from celebrating. Gaddafi's corpse is displayed under the order of the National Transitional Council (NTC) chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil, a former justice minister.

Image from android
Image from wikimedia
Next, words from Steve Jobs' biography made the headlines on the mobile industry section, stating that Android is the stolen product of the iPhone. Quoting from the news article from Taiwannews,

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs told Isaacson. "I'm going to destroy Android because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go to thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death because they know they are guilty."

Anti-"Grand Theft Android" remains as Jobs' most critical job to be accomplished after his departure.

Image from ourparkercolorado
Switching to business, the long talked-about Groupon IPO may finally arrive on 4th November. After the summer setback, the coupon-selling company is once again ready for actions. In June, Locky's English Playground posted an entry named Investment: Why Groupon Is Poised For Collapse looking into the danger of investing in companies using such coupon-selling business model. Worries or un-necessaries? Answer will be unveiled soon enough.

"Why Always Me?" were the words printed on Balotelli's shirt
Image from

Lastly onto football, Manchester United suffered humiliating lost-and-loss as rival Manchester City netted 6 goals to 1 by 4 different players, 2 of which (talented Italian striker Mario Balotelli together with powerful Yugoslavian forward Edin Dzeko) scoring twice. Evans also earned a red card and suspension in the next match.

Man City, numbers can hurt you know?

news anchor -- (n) [C] a person who presents news during a news program in the format of a television show, on the radio or the Internet.
magnitude -- (n)[U] the large size or importance of something
the Richter scale -- (n)[S] a system used to measure the strength of an earthquake
aftershock -- (n)[C] a sudden movement of the Earth's surface which often follows an earthquakeand which is less violent than the first main movement
death toll -- (n)  [C usually singularthe number of people who die because of an event such as a war or an accident
liberation -- (n)[U] when something or someone is released or made free
hinder -- (vb)[T] to limit the ability of someone to do something, or to limit the development of something
biography -- (n) [C or U] the life story of a person written by someone else
accomplish -- (vb)[T] to finish something successfully or to achieve something 
setback -- (n)[C] something that happens which delays or prevents a process from advancing
unveil -- (vb) [T] If you unveil something new, you show it or make it known for the first time


Turkey earthquake: Desperate search for survivors @ BBC News

Libya declares "liberation," Gaddafi stays unburied @ Reuters

Steve Jobs' biography: Google’s Android a "grand theft" of iphone @ Taiwan News

Groupon IPO may arrive Nov. 4 @USA Today

Investment: Why Groupon Is Poised For Collapse @ Locky's English Playground

City hammer ten-man United @ Soccernet

World Events @ Yahoo! News

Thursday 20 October 2011

News & Opinions: iPhone 4 Steve? Siri-ously? What about iPhone 5teve?

Image from pockethacks
Yeah yeah yeah...

Siri Logo
I know it is iPhone related again, but this is the best topic around the world these days!! First, you have iPhone 4S representing "iPhone For Steve", second you have "Line" hitting 2 millions downloads in 3 months, overtaking Whatsapp's first place at the Apple Store, making a big hit in Hong Kong by the means of Facebook (both downloading -- due to the great functions such as SHAKE and deleting -- due to the rumours of possible unforeseen charges), then third, rumour has it that iPhone 4S is not the final project of Steve Jobs, but iPhone 5 is!!! One "iPhone 4 Steve" has triggered the best iPhone buying spree ever, what would their selling line be when they sell iPhone 5? iPhone 5teve? I'll surely take all the credit if they really do this, but my point is, they can basically do this forever! iPhone 5teve, iPhone 5S (iPhone 5teve JobS), etc.

Still, the most exciting thing about the iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 is the iOS 5! Not jailbreaking this time, but your personal assistant Siri. It is a smart AI (artificial intelligence) which can learn as you teach it through asking it to do more and more tasks.

Wanna see some examples? Read this funny article by Takahashi about Siri.

Image from venturebeat.files.wordpress

here’s some dialogue between some kids and Siri.
Question: You’re a poop.
Siri: I guess you’re not happy.
Q: Not at all.
Siri: Sorry. I don’t understand not at all.
Q: Find Kona’s pet food.
Siri: I found 15 pet stores. Thirteen of them are fairly close to you.
Q: Happy birthday Siri.
Siri: It’s my birthday?
Q: What is the tallest mountain in the U.S.?
Siri: Mount McKinley.
Q: Who is the tallest person in the world.
Siri: Checking on that for you. Do you want me to search the web for you?
Q: What are you?
Siri: I’m just a humble virtual assistant.
Q: You’re weird.
Siri: If you insist.
Q: What are you doing?
Siri: Waiting for something to do.
Q: You’re cool.
Siri: That is correct. I use advanced heat dissipation techniques.

Don't think it is real? Check this out!!!!

I haven't tried it yet, but when I finally get hold of the new jailbreak+unlock software, I will definitely try it.

But if these teaching of the Siri is being centralised one day, will we be making the real SkyNET in Terminator?

Siri seems brilliant, but there are questions which it cannot answer. Such as...

PS: iOS 5 isn't perfect, here's an article talking about 5 annoying things about iOS5 and how to fix them.


Crunch For Time @ The Standard

Messenger app "Line" hits 2 million downloads in 3 months @ asiaOne Science & Tech

iPhone 5: Jobs’s final project before death @ Taiwan News

iPhone 5 Rumor: More Speculation It May Be the Final Steve Jobs Release @ WebProNews

Apple’s Siri personal assistant will make your kids laugh @ MobileBeat

Chit Chat with Siri on the iphone4s - Talk to Me @ YouTube

iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy S II Drop Test @ YouTube

5 Annoying Things About iOS 5 (Plus How to Fix Them) @ Business INsider

Tuesday 18 October 2011

News: Old Man Indecently Assaulted Schoolgirls

Seems like the English Playground is turning into a hacker's website! Since there isn't any update on the untethered jalbreak and unlock for the iOS5 or iOS 4.3.5, let's just put that aside and give it a break.

Now, one very interesting piece of new today from the Standard with some good law terms to learn and a ridiculously dirty-minded old man to comment on.

Man, 73, held for indecent assault of schoolgirls 

A 73-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a series of indecent assault cases in Kwun Tong last week.

Phila Siu

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A 73-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a series of indecent assault cases in Kwun Tong last week.

The man, surnamed Yeung, was arrested in a park near Tsui Ping Estate at about 8am yesterday.
He was being held for questioning last night, but no charges had been laid.

Four schoolgirls aged 12 to 17 complained of being assaulted on the estate.

Two said an elderly man grabbed their breasts when they were on their way to school on Tuesday morning.

The following day, another girl was grabbed by the arm, but her schoolmate escaped without being touched.

According to a newspaper vendor on the estate, up to seven police officers masquerading as residents and holding a drawing of the suspect have been roaming the estate since the incidents were reported. The suspect was described as bald, in his 60s, about 1.6 meters tall and of slim build.

The vendor said one of the victims sat in her stand every morning under the surveillance of police to point out the suspect should he walk by.

To the surprise of the girl, she saw the suspect just as she was about to give up and go to school.

Three officers then arrested him in the park opposite Tsui Lok House.

Yeung is suspected of being responsible for the first two offenses, and are looking into whether he is also connected to the other two assaults.

They are also trying to find a possible motive, and whether he has a criminal record.

For the second time this month, following stabbings at Cheung Kwan O, police have been criticized for not releasing details of attacks until four days after they have taken place.

Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said in some cases, information is withheld for privacy reasons, or because it may threaten the safety of victims, especially in kidnapping cases.

But lawmakers in the Legislative Council security panel panel were dissatisfied with the explanation.

"No one is asking you to release the names and addresses of the victims. You only have to say, for example, that there is a case of molestation and where it happened," Civic Party lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said.

Lee replied:"It is one of our considerations whether it [releasing the information] will obstruct the progress of our investigation.

"Arresting the criminal in a short period of time is also of public interest."

Ridiculously dirty old man attacking girls is unacceptable, but this might be a single case of many to come. Girls should always learn to protect themselves, maybe keep a little spray in their purses, or maybe learn a little Wing Chun, which is meant to be for girls, or even just keep a hyper-annoying alarm in their bags for them to set it off once they are in danger. It really is helpful!

As to trying to explain the incidents, some might say, old men are more deprived of  love or sex than men at other ages, I think this could be true, imagine that these man lived alone after their wives have past away years ago. Sounds pitiful enough, but even so this does not contribute to any reasons strong enough to support the assaults. Anyway, if they really really love their wives, they wouldn't need other women.

Loneliness is no excuse for offence.

By the way, do not mix up incident with incidence. Apply the mnemonic,  "Incident" has a "t" and stands for "terrible" and you will remember it easier.

Indecent assault -- (n) [C or U] UK legal an attack on someone which usually involves sexual actions but notrape (= forced sex)
masquerade (as sb / sth) phrasal verb to pretend or appear to be someone or something
suspect -- (n) [C] a person believed to have committed a crime or done something wrong, or something believed to have caused something bad
bald -- (adj) with little or no hair on the head
build -- (n)  [C or Uthe size and shape of a person's body
surveillance -- (n) [U] the careful watching of a person or place, especially by the police or army, because of a crime that has happened or is expected
offense -- [C or U] US spelling of offence [C] an illegal act; a crime
motive -- (n)[C] a reason for doing something
criminal record -- (n) [C] an official record of the crimes that a person has committed
stabbing -- (n) [C] when someone stabs someone stab -- (vb) [T] to injure someone with a sharp pointed object such as a knife
criticize -- (vb) [I T often passive] to express disapproval of someone or something
molestation -- (n) [U] to touch or attack someone in a sexual way against their wishes
investigation -- (n)  [C or Uthe act or process of examining a crime, problem, statement, etc. carefully, especially to discover the truth
public interest -- (n) [U] used when talking about people's rights to know the facts about a particular situation:
deprive (of) -- (vb) [T] to take something, especially something necessary or pleasant, away from someone
pitiful -- (adj) making people feel sympathy
incident -- (n) [C] an event which is either unpleasant or unusual
incidence-- [C usually singular] formal an event, or the rate at which something happens
mnemonic -- (n)[C] something such as a very short poem or a special word used to help a person remember something

Man, 73, held for indecent assault of schoolgirls @ The Standard