Michael Olivero
The official blog of Michael Olivero, Software Architect & Humble Entrepreneur

StraightTalk on iPhone5 Step by Step Instructions

Saturday, 22 September 2012 23:04 by Michael Olivero


For those who are interested in knowing if iPhone5 AT&T GSM works on StraightTalk, the answer is "Absolutely Yes". Although I already tested it with my SIMM and cannot recreate the steps as I do not have another StraightTalk SIMM, I did create a video showing Step by Step Instructions for configuring StraightTalk on the new iPhone 5.


First, watch this video to see how I modify the SIMM.


Then, with WiFi enabled on the iPhone, visit this web site: http://www.unlockit.co.nz to configure your APN.

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The New IPhone's or iPhone 5 New Features With Illustrations

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 01:44 by Michael Olivero

With the next iPhone just around the corner, I've decided to consolidate all the rumors i have read in the past 6 months into a concise list of the ones which are most certainly coming to the iPhone.


The new iPhone will have a 4" screen by increasing the height and making it a true wide screen 16:9 display

All iPhones up to and including the 4S have had the similar aspect ratio of the original iPhone released back in 2007.  The new iPhone for 2012 will have a slightly longer profile with a total resolution of 640x1136.  While this may seem to make the phone significantly longer and awkward, it was accomplished efficiently and with only increasing it's physical length every so slightly.  If you look at your current iPhone, the large areas where the home button and speaker reside are reduced by about 40%.  It not too obvious in the side by side comparison below as this was just a mockup using an existing iPhone 4S modified.  With this optimal use of space, along with a slight increase in height, Apple is able to add a 4" screen while retaining the similar look & feel of the already great iPhone 4S.

The new iPhone will have a unibody case.

Unlike the previous two iPhones, where a revolutionary stainless steel frame acts as the main support for the phone while doubling as an antenna for the various services, the new iPhone will sport a unibody case.  While the rumors don't solidly say this case is made of Liquidmetal, I will go on record and almost bet the farm on it being based on Liquidmetal.  The reasons are outlined in a separate blog to be posted soon.  Liquidmetal uses a very unique manufacturing method which allows for building very precise pieces out of molds much like plastics.  This method, while challenging to work with metals, can produce more intricate pieces than traditional CNC machining of metals or aluminum.


The new iPhone will sporta faster processor

Some competing smart phones are already using quad-core cpu's and the iPad3 introduced in early 2012 uses Apple's A5X CPU which is a dual-core cpu with quad-core graphics subsystem.  This CPU is necessary to push the extra pixels the iPad3 requires (4x as much as the previous iPads).  If this CPU is used for the next iPhone, it would be sufficiently powerful for all of the iPhone's needs as it's resolution is significantly lower and consequently making the next iPhone that much more faster on graphics when compared to the iPad3.  It's possible Apple may introduce the quad-core A6 processor, but this might simply be an overkill making battery suffer -- a high priority in a mobile device with aconstrained battery such as the iPhone and other smart phones.


The new iPhone will sport a thinner profile

The new iPhone, with the screen flush, will be 7.6mm thin.  If you want to compare how thin this is when looking at the current iPhone, imagine an iPhone4 or 4S with both of the glass pieces on the back and front removed.  This is approximately how thing the next iPhone will be and it's significant.  How can they do this without shorting battery life?  Two ways, one is of course ever improving battery technology and secondly by using an in-cell panel for the screen.  This simply means the screen and touch technology are built together reducing the space needed to fit both technologies separately as with previous generation iPhones.  Apple's new supplier, Sharp, also confirmed shipments of this new screen a few days ago.


The new iPhone will utilize next generation cellphone technology called LTE (Long Term Evolution)

The first generation iPhone utilized EDGE, which was limited to about 128Kbs speeds and was good for emails and basic data, however wasn't good for general web surfing.  The original iPhone ushered in the mobile data era and not too much later, the next generation iPhone (iPhone 3G) ushered in the next generation mobile data - 3G.  As cellphone companies, particularly AT&T, struggled to keep up with data demands it was clear higher speeds where necessary.  In the US, HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) became the GSM standard for 3G on AT&T's network and later, with the iPhone 4S, introduced yet an upgraded version termed HSPA+ which provides very high speeds under ideal conditions.  The HSPA+ standard however was still not efficient and yet a newer, data oriented, transmission technology was necessary -- LTE.  With LTE (Long Term Evolution), we are littering entering the broadband era for mobile devices.  The speed at which your mobile devices operate is largely indistinguishable from your home broadband speeds with low latency and large throughput.  Early LTE chipsets, similar to initial 3G chipsets, where power hungry and significantly drained the battery when compared to the previous generation 3G and EDGE respectively.  With iPhone5, the LTE chipsets have improved significantly, even within the last 6 months, making LTE more suitable.  Verizon has the largest deployment of LTE, while AT&T has the largest deployment of HSPA+ with LTE available in about 25% of the population Verizon covers.  AT&T however claims more consistent speeds when switching in and out of LTE while Verizon will allegedly switch to their slower 3G technology.  Incidentally, for those which may require voice and data use simultaneously, Verizon's 3G has a small imitation where data cannot be used while on a phone call unlike AT&T's.  The choice of carrier for the new iPhone has become that much more difficult to decide.  Regardless if you choose Verizon or AT&T, you'll have access to the latest LTE speeds where available.

New Smaller Dock Connector

The next iPhone will certainly have a smaller dock connector.  Lots of miniaturization has occurred in the last ten years and retaining same 30pin dock connector now certainly start to impact the space utilization in modern devices.  As a result, Apple has little choice but to update the dock connector to not only support modern protocols such as USB3 or Thunderbolt, but also from a footprint perspective making it smaller.  The actual pin out is unknown with certainty, but you can expect it to be smaller and fit universally in either orientation unlike the existing dock connector which fits only in one orientation.


Relocated Microphone Jack

When you hold your phone in your hand, you hold it upright.  When you place it in your pocket, you usually place it top down while holding it in the same orientation.  If you have the audio headphones plugged on the top, as with previous generations, this would require you to reorient your phone in your hand prior to placing it in your pocket so the headphones remain in the upward position.  With the next iPhone, the headphone jack is relocated to the bottom and this particular scenario & inconvenience is alleviated.


Next Major Version of iOS, iOS6

  • As traditional with all previous releases of iPhone, the next iPhone will certainly be released with iOS6.  There are many interesting features of iOS6.
    1. New Maps application utilizing SVG graphics for better realtime scalling
    2. Turn by Turn Directions
    3. New Alarm features such as wake up to iTunes song
    4. New Bluetooth features such as specific group synching rather than all contacts
    5. Deeper Twitter integration as well as Facebook as an OS feature API available to all applications
    6. New metallic-like refresh in many areas such as phone & iPod apps, etc.
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Macbook Air 2012 11" i5 vs. i7 Heat, Fan, Battery, & Speed Comparison - Part 2

Wednesday, 1 August 2012 21:47 by Michael Olivero
Part 1 of this review is located here.

After reading through the first version of this post, some have asked for CPU intensive tasks such as Handbrake. Additionally, the first post didn't measure battery in a perfectly controlled fashion so this time around one of the experiments focused on that.

For these tests, I once again prepared the MacBook Air 11" 2012 with raw data sources for stressing the CPU.  This included an 8gb raw DVD source files placed on the desktop to leverage the SSD's read speed as well as placing 40gb iPhoto library.  Once the MacBook Air 2012 11" i5 was all setup, I once again cloned it to other MacBook Air 2012 11" i7 in preparation for the tests.

The tests include (a) a single cpu iPhoto database rebuild, (b) a multi-cpu Handbrake encoding, (c) a real world battery test lasting three hours of continued use, and (d) a handbrake with the i7 MacBook while in docked under a 27" apple display in the closed clam shape mode.

Part1 - iPhoto database rebuild

I have a very large 40+ gigabyte library for iPhoto (photos only as I have video's elsewhere) and it was really really sluggish.  I initially though it was due to the hard drive not able to keep up with all the media, however after copying the iPhoto library to my MacBookAir i5 I found it shocking it was as slow and sluggish with the infamous spinning colorful beach ball like cursor.  Upon discovering how to repair the iPhoto library (something I recommend everyone apply using this blog I additionally wrote ) I started to time the various repair processes simultaneously on both machines. The first repair was rather quick, about 20 seconds or so, and entailed rebuilding the permissions (the first option in the iPhoto repair dialog).  

In most cases the i7 finished a few seconds quicker than the i5 -- except for one instance where it finished a few seconds later.  I was intrigued and investigated further only to discover a running process was running and temporarily taking up about 20% cpu.  After a bit of research, I discovered the running process was spotlight indexing parts of the drive.  Clearly this process would distort the accuracy of any experiments by a small margin, so I dug further and discovered how to stop spotlight indexing temporarily with a small command line executed through the terminal app.

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

To start it up again after all your tests, you can issue the load command as follows:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist


I'm not sure if spotlight is resource intensive to the point one looses 10 or 15% battery, but I may consider having a quick script so I can activate and deactivate it conveniently if it indeed uses valuable battery.  With spotlight disabled, the i7 continuously and predictably completed the iPhoto permission repair routing a few seconds ahead of the i5.

Main Test - iPhoto Rebuild Thumbnails

This test was straight forward.  I simply started iPhoto in repair mode (holding Command + Option while launching iPhoto) and started them both while also starting the timer on my iPhone.

 Again, as I did in the previous blog's tests, I measured CPU temperature, fan speed, overall progress and the final finish times.  The repair database process seems to be a single threaded process as only one CPU fired up to max capacity throughout the test as shown in this cpu monitoring tool called Menu Meters.


 MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
 CPU TempFan SpeedCPU TempFan Speed
0:1569 degrees2001rpm85degrees2002rpm
5:0072 degrees1999rpm90degrees2240rpm
10:0074 degrees1995rpm88degrees3000rpm
37:52------finished pass 1
43:17------iPhoto Library Loaded
45:33finished pass 1------
51:47iPhoto Library Loaded------



This appeared to be a single cpu process for an extended period.  The i7 was able to run at full capacity as the fans never reached maximum operating speed.  From the final numbers, it seems the i7 has a very significant speed boost over the i5 with single CPU operations.

MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
Final Time% slower than i7Final Time% faster than i5
51:4719% slower43:1716.4% faster




Part2 - Handbrake Encoding

To perform the hand brake encoding, I updated Handbrake to the latest version and opened the raw DVD source residing on the desktop.  By putting the DVD source on the SSD we eliminate the slow IO of an external DVD drive and maximize CPU by feeding it raw DVD as fast As the SSD can provide it. Similarly to avoid I/O bottle necks, hand brake is configured to save the encoded DVD movie on the desktop as well.



 MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
 CPU TempFan SpeedCPU TempFan Speed
2:3590 degrees2033rpm102degrees4425rpm
3:4594 degrees2408rpm100degrees5655rpm
5:1492 degrees2906rpm97degrees6497rpm
29:28finished ------




Unlike the previous test, this used all available cpus and hyper threads available.  The i7 did top at 99 degrees 6500rpm fan speed and remained there for the majority of the test.  From the final numbers, it seems the i7 has a very significant speed boost over the i5.

MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
Final Time% slower than i7Final Time% faster than i5
29:2819.6% slower23:4124.4% faster

This is an amazing speed increase and for anyone considering using this machine as a main computer and do not mind the spool up the fans during heavy use, the i7 seems to be the way to go.


Part3 - Battery Test Real World Usage

For the battery test, I charged both MacBooks to 100% and left them plugged in for an additional 30 minutes for any left over trickle charge.  I setup a web page which does not cache and auto reloads the USAToday web site every 10 seconds.  In addition to this, I launched Windows in a VMWare session configured to use 3gigs (of the total 8gb the machine has) and additionally configure Windows so it does not go to sleep.  By leaving windows running like this, the CPU's were gradually above 5-10% of use as shown in the video.  This along with the browser refreshing should resemble a typical day of usage.  Since I started the test around 3AM, I configured the MacBooks to go to sleep after 3 hours.  Upon waking up, I can check the battery meter and compare them among both machines.



As expected the i7 consumed a bit more power than the i5 under normal loads.  The consumption however is less significant, comparatively speaking to the gains in CPU from the above previous test.  This can be interpreted as a more efficient CPU under normal operating conditions. In simple terms, it can do more work with less power -- so long as you are not a power user who pushes the computer to high limits often.  The results after opening the MacBooks the following morning:

MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
% Battery Left % Battery Left 
38% 29% 

Normalized over the entire battery, you are looking at a difference of about 12%.  Meaning, should the MacBooks stayed on, the i7 would have shut off on it's while the i5 would still have approximately 12% charge left.



Part4 - HandBrake Test while docked in clamshell mode

Since I plan to use my MacBook Air primarily in clamshell mode while at home or office, it's performance in this mode is very important to me.  I was VERY surprised with the performance findings in this mode.  I did anticipate a higher cpu temperature due to reduced airflow, however I found other surprises too.



Unconvinced, I decided to cross check if the i5 also suffers from this. My initial guess is no, because it has better thermal characteristics than the i7. Indeed, that was the case. Below is the same handbrake video being performed by the i5 in clam shell mode.


Based on my clam shell mode test, it's clear the CPU never went above 100 degrees and instead the CPU's processing power is reduced to control temperature.  In clam shell mode it does indeed not get enough circulation for cooling purposes and instead of the machine overheating or shutting down altogether like the iPad in sunlight, it simply reduces the processing power of the CPU.  in this case, it was reduced significantly enough where it was roughly 25% slower than the i5 in open mode sitting on a desk.


Overall Conclusion

While the speed increases make the i7 shine when compared to the i5 model, these bursts of speed are most likely not sustainable unless you are in a properly cooled environment and working in the typical open mode.  If you plan to use MacBook in clam shell mode, then most definitely the MacBook Air 11" i5 model is way to go for it's superior thermal properties.  If on the other hand you have small bursts of power needs, the i7 will give you a good bang for the buck.



Is iPhoto running slow with large library of pictures? Solution Found!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012 13:33 by Michael Olivero

I have a large iPhoto library (pictures only) of about 40 gigabytes since I recently merged the various iPhoto libraries into one.  In doing so however, the library became unbearably slow to work with.  Anything I would do, including just a simple scroll through the photo library would cause the application to hang with the infamous color full beach-ball like cursor twirling.

I sincerely initially though this was to the slow I/O of traditional hard drives.  So with my new MacBook Air 2012, I decided to move my entire library to leverage the super fast SSD.  To my surprise, the performance of iPhoto was identical.  The MacBook Air is even an upgraded system with extra ram & storage, so I knew it couldn't be the disk I/O.

My search for the solution lead me to various people describing a special "diagnostic screen" of iPhoto shown below which opens when you launch iPhoto with the Command + Option keys pressed.


Since the last option below indicates to try only if the above options do not resolve the matter, I decided to start each option top down.  The first option ran rather quickly and didn't improve the performance.  The second option however did take a very long time to complete.  Even on an high performance SSD drive of a MacBook Air, it took a good hour to complete. I imagine it would take over four hours to complete with a regular hard drive and a similarly sized iPhoto library.  After completion, I can confirm, at least with my experience, iPhoto ran more smoothly with very few occurrence of the "BeachBall" cursor appearing.   Since the 2nd option provided so much improvement, I decided to apply the 3rd option to my library as well.  So far I went from a practically unusable  library to a library I was able to show to some co-workers who happening to be considering a Mac purchase.

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Macbook Air 2012 11" i5 vs. i7 Heat, Fan, Battery, & Speed Comparison

Sunday, 29 July 2012 22:52 by Michael Olivero
Part 2 of this review is here

The question many are asking is:

  • If I choose the i7 will I have a noisy fan system having trouble keeping cool?
  • If I choose the i7 over the i5, will I have significantly lower batter life?
  • If I choose the i7 over the i5, will it be significantly hotter to touch than the i5?
  • How much more powerful is the i7 and is it worth any concessions in any of the above?
Some comparisons out there compare the upgraded i7 (with double the ram and disk) to the stock i5.  This comparison, while reasonable, is not 100% accurate for exact same systems.
In order to do a fair comparison, both systems should have the same exact hardware with exception to the CPU.  I personally ordered the Mac Book Air 11" 2012 i5 with 8GB ram and 256GB SSD upgrades.  After having second thoughts and no forum or review truly addressing the battery, heat, & fan noise head on I relented to going out and getting an upgraded MacBook Air 11" 2012 i7 with 8GB ram and 256GB SSD to compare them head to head.
To ensure the machines were identical, I cloned the drive of my i5 and immediately restored it onto the new machine.  This ensures as close of a controlled test as possible under the circumstances.


Pre-Test Stats

Before starting the tests, I let the machines idle for a long while and then checked the stats with iStat Pro.  The results are:

MacBook Air 11" 2012 i5MacBook Air 11" 2012 i7

36 - HD
40 - CPU
28 - Enclosure Base
28 - Enclosure Base 2
28 - Enclosure Base 3
30 - Heatsink B
36 - Mem Bank A1
37 - Mem Controller 

2004 rpm 

37 - HD
42 - CPU
29 - Enclosure Base
29 - Enclosure Base 2
30 - Enclosure Base 3
31 - Heatsink B
39 - Mem Bank A1
38 - Mem Controller 

2001 rpm 



These MacBook Air's have a similar asymmetrical fan the MacBook Pro Retina has, however only one can be fitted into the small form factor. I can attest the sound is significantly lower and practically inaudible up to 3500rpm.  There after it's still very low up until about 5000 where you start to notice the whirling sound -- still much less when compared to the 2011 model at the same RPM.
The test was an approximate 30 minute encoding of a video project using ScreenFlow with both the source media on the Desktop (SSD) and the encoding saving also to the desktop.  Both MacBooks have the Samsung 256 SSD so there should be no differences in energy consumption or heat there.

The results:

TimeMacBook Air 11" i5MacBook Air 11" i7
  Fan Speed CPU Temperature Encoding Time Left Fan Speed CPU Temperature Encoding Time Left
0:15 1997rpm 48 celcius 38 min 2001rpm 48 celcius 33 min
2:36 2001rpm 89 celcius --- 4305rpm 105 celcius ---
6:12 -- -- 36min -- -- 29min
7:16 3110rpm 91 celcius --- 5943rpm 97 celcius ---
8:55 3563rpm 89 celcius -- 6500 rpm 93 celcius --
11:31 -- -- 31 min -- -- 23min
12:43 -- -- 29min -- -- 21min
17:02 -- -- 25min -- -- 17min
17:40 5162rpm 81 celsius -- 6499rpm 91 celsius --
23:32 5593rpm 78 celsius -- 6499rpm 91 celsius  
30:00 6128rpm 76 celsius -- 6494rpm 92 celsius --
33:02 6418rpm 74 celsius -- 6497rpm 92 celsius --
Conclusion, the i7 cpu heats up quickly spooling the fans of the i7 earlier.  At the 2:36 mark, the i7 was at 4305rpm while the i5 was still at a silent 2001rpm.  At the 8:55 minute mark, the i7 reached maximum rpm of 6500 while the i5 was still at a comparatively low 3563rpm.  The i5 almost reached the 6500 rpm mark after 33 minutes of heavy lifting however although it didn't really need to because the CPU was progressively lowering in temperature when compared to the i7 remaining firm between 91 & 92 degrees.  The i7 also was significantly ahead with regards to getting the job done.  Initially the i7 was ahead by about 5 minutes and inched up to be about 7-8 minutes ahead by the middle and ending of the encoding.

Outside Temperature of MacBooks:

Good news for those worrying about the outside temperature.  In both the i5 and the i7, there was very little difference in surface temperature -- by only one or two degrees at most.  They both felt warm to the touch.  Neither felt too hot to hold, however the i7 was every so slightly warmer.  Without one to compare with, I wouldn't be able to tell you which one I was holding.

Test #2 - Battery Drain Stressful Load

For this test, I simply unplugged the power cords and re-ran the same exact video encoding.  I didn't take specific time stamps, however i did compare them both simultaneously at varying intervals.  On the video, the iPhone was really close to both MacBooks so the microphone was much closer and audible than one would normally perceive and additionally, there were two MacBooks working side by side.
  MacBook Air 11" i5 MacBook Air 11" i7
Take 1 94% Charge 92% Charge
Take 3 89% Charge 85% Charge
Take 4 74% Charge 65% Charge
Take 5 71% Charge 60% Charge (finished encoding))
Take 6 65% Charge (finished encoding) --



Conclusion, the i7 gets more work done faster at a small cost in battery.  Both machines did the same work, the i5 finished with 65% battery left while the i7 finished with 60% battery left. Under stressful load, I consider this a very good feat given the performance gains achieved.  These stressful scenarios are not the norm and instead you may be working casually more often than not so I expect the difference in battery to be even lower during normal use.  As a matter of personal opinion, I didn't like seeing the i7 pegged at 91 degrees under normal room temperature while the i5 was progressively being reduced from a peak of 91 degrees down to 74 degrees near the end of the encoding.


Test #3 - Battery Drain Light Load

For the light load tests, I simply created an HTML page with an auto refresh every 10 seconds loading USAToday web site.  I turned off the brightness on both monitors to isolate the drain to the CPU as much as possible and left them alone for a few hours.


The Results:

  MacBook Air 2012 i5 MacBook Air 2012 i7
Take 1 98% Charge 98% Charge

I had to go to bed and before wrapping up; tentatively there is very little difference (1% or 2 down to 75% -- with the i7 obviously consuming a bit more).  Prior to going to bed, I started to use both macs side by side performing the same operations.  Launching a VM, browsing, refreshing, performing browser speed tests, etc. and I was able to bring the MacBooks down to a difference of 5% (i5 had 55% and i7had 50% battery left). I will have some additional updates on normal and light loads in the coming days.



Overall Conclusion

The overall conclusion is very subjective and different for everyone.  If you have a thunderbolt display and/or plan to use the MacBook air as your primary machine with large SSD drive, then i7 may be the way to go. If on the other hand the MacBook air is your secondary computer and you have a performance oriented iMac at home or office, then other factors such as battery and/or comfort should have higher significance.  Below are my summary conclusions based on my findings.

FAN Noise - Those wishing to have as silent of a computer as possible in most circumstances should opt for the i5.  Keep in mind however, I've been using the i7 all day today -- plugged into a 27" display and have yet to hear it spool up.  In order words, just as the test showed, under specific load, the i7 will spin up the fans within a few minutes while the i5 will take a little longer to do so -- however you need to produce load on a sustained basis for that to occur.  If you are dead set on having minimal fans then i5 gives that, but be forewarned the i5 will spool up eventually (8-12 minutes later rather than 2 minutes).

Surface & bottom chassis temperature -- both MacBooks are only off by a degree or two.  It's noticeable only if you are comparing one with the other.  I wouldn't be able to discern which MacBook I was holding in my hand under load otherwise.  If you are only concerned about temperature, there is negligible difference and should ignore this factor and move on to the next important factor.  Despite this, do read my comment on CPU temperature below under other ambients.

Battery -- Under heavy load, the i7 drew about 15% more battery (5% difference in battery level at the 60-65% level).  Given the performance results indicated a 30% improvement with i7 over i5 (25min left vs. 17min left at the 17 minute mark), the bang for the buck seems to be there.  Note, this was a heavy IO test using the optimized SSD which we all know is significantly faster than the previous model, so true performance difference between machines, as per standard benchmarks, is somewhere 15% mark.  If you do edit video or have heavy IO tasks, using say the 512MB SSD, then certainly the i7 gets you a noticeable improvement and should opt for it.  For those seeking maximum battery life, the i5 will give you some extra juice -- approximately 10-15% if used under load continuously.  Under very light load, the batter difference seems to be a negligible < 5%.  So under normal load, you can probably expect 7-10% extra battery life on the i5 vs the i7.

CPU Temp -- I did notice the CPU temperature for the i7 was pegged at 91-92 degrees under load at room temperature.  The i5 was actually lowering the CPU temperature while slowly increasing the fan speed.  Because of this, if you are working in environments where the temperature may be ambient, say out side patio on an afternoon, you may find the i7 is not able to keep the CPU cool causing the system overall to become hotter -- again only under load.  The i5 would also have the same effects, but to a lesser extent.


MacBook Air improve battery life with Mountain Lion

Tuesday, 24 July 2012 02:47 by Michael Olivero

With Mountain Lion's imminent release any day now, according to a close friend, I'm happy to report there is evidence Mountain Lion has been optimized for improved battery life -- particularly noticeable on MacBook Air machines.   Previous to Mountain Lion, MacBook Air 11" noticeably drained battery quite quickly.  With Mountain Lion, it seems the battery life is much more respectable.  If I had to guess, I would go on a limb and say up to 25% more.

Charging would be necessary by 12noon under normal usage and it seems it lasts through early afternoon.  We'll have to see in the next few days if indeed this is a common finding upon early adopters of Mountain Lion.


UPDATE 8/7/2012 In lieu of people having battery problem with Mountain Lion: 

I didn't realize this, however as I initially started using OSX Mountain Lion I do recall making a change because my MacBook Air battery would train really fast while in sleep mode closed.  Meaning, I would close it at night with say 90% only to wake up in the morning with 75%. It seems by default the memory remains powered unnecessarily after going to sleep.  I'm not sure if this is a necessary setting for HardDisk based MacBooks, but for MacBook Air's this is certainly not the case as the computer should save an image of memory to the SSD quickly (e.g. hibernation) and then power down the system components.

I changed my power management setting manually to ensure it hibernates while powering down and ever since I have no longer had battery issues with my MacBook Air.

First, check your current power settings by running this command:

pmset -g custom

And you should see something like this:


There two sections "Battery Power" & "AC Power" along with each of the various settings for each section.  If you notice, hibernatemode for the battery section is currently 25.  This is the setting you want to have for your MacBook Air. Ever since setting this to 25, I've woken up with 100% remaining after leaving the MacBook Air to sleep for many hours.

If you look into the details of pmset command, you will find the three recommended settings as shown:


Clearly, us MacBook people, particularly the MacBook Air people or those with SSD's as storage, would want to have setting 25 and it seems it is only configurable manually via pmset.  Here is the magic command.  Run this with the command line and you should no longer have problems with battery.

sudo pmset -b standbydelay 900 standby 1 hibernatemode 25

The stand by delay of 900 seconds simply means it keeps the memory powered for 900 seconds (15 minutes) in case you return to your MacBook quickly.  This will give the instant on impression.  After 900 seconds, the memory is powered down and the machine must restore the memory from hibernation which simply means it takes an extra second or two to power up.  If you like this convenience, you may want to increase/decrease the 900 value by however many seconds makes sense for you.






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Microsoft Surface with VaporMG and Liquidmetal for Apple Mobile devices

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 18:25 by Michael Olivero

Today's announcement, aside from all the bells and whistles of their unique approach in making a content creation device as much as a consumption device, was the use of VaporMG (pronounced Vapor Mag).  When I saw the detailed presentation by Panos Panay, the general manager of Microsoft Surface, I was intrigued at his continual use of the word perfect and the variations there of predominantly centered around the material, the feel and precision of it.

The first thing that came to mind after seeing VaporMG is the strong resemblance to Liquidmetal Apple is expected to use soon.  In the case of Surface, magnesium, is injected into molds allowing for very high precision craftsmanship at unbelievably small thicknesses such as .65mm in the case of the Surface -- a similar process and technology is also applied with Liquidmetal.  I'm not certain if this was a mere coincidence, but on the same day the Surface was announcement, Apple decided to extend their exclusive license to Liquidmetal for another 2 years.  Apple originally acquired an exclusive license to Liquidmetal back in 2010 for mobile devices and is highly rumored to be used in the next iPhone.  Recent leaks of a very thin metallic like enclosure, if legitimate as many have been in the past, provides some support for this rumor, however we will not know for sure until Apple releases their iPhone 5 around October 2012.

I praise Microsoft for taking a full frontal attack on mobile.  I praise them for thinking out of the box in creating a content creation device as much as a content consumption device.  I have to admit, many times I've wanted to create a blog entry and didn't quite find the right convenience to do so with the screen-based touch keyboard and even found it somewhat inconvenient to pair up the bluetooth keyboard as well.  Having the keyboard integrated into the cover seems like a novel tradeoff to both scenarios.

In summary, competition is great for innovation and I look forward to awesome Liquidmetal or VaporMG products to come in the near future from both companies.

Some references:


Apple Extends Exclusive License to Liquid Metal: 

iPhone5 Liquid Metal Enclosure Leak: 

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Categories:   iPhone / iPad
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Apple Siri Commands - Friends

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 20:44 by Michael Olivero

Here are some Siri sample to interact with Friends

Checking Up on Friends

  • Where's Mike?
  • Where is my sister?
  • Is my wife home?
  • Where are all my friends?
  • Who is here?
  • Who is near me?
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Categories:   iPhone / iPad | Mac
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Apple Siri Commands to interact with the Address Book

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 18:51 by Michael Olivero

Here are some Siri sample to interact with the Address Book

Query Contacts with Siri

  • What's Michael's address?
  • What is Mary Jane's phone number?
  • When is my wife's birthday?
  • Show Rick's home email address

Finding Contacts with Siri

  • Show Jason Smith
  • Find people named Rick
  • Who is Michael Rodriguez

Relationships with Siri

  • My mom is Martha Smith
  • Michael Smith is my brother
  • Call my brother at work
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Categories:   iPhone / iPad
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Facebook vs. Google it's a brutal war...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 20:11 by Michael Olivero

Web sites have a simple way to tell search engines how to index their site.  This consists of a file called robots.txt the web site places on the root of their site specifying the rules on how the "robots" can come in a traverse their site.  It was first established in 1994 around the time when search engines were being born.

It recently resurfaced in the news not too long ago when Rupert Murdock was creating waves in the media about how search engines steal and reuse their content -- particularly their news and aggregating them such as news.google.com.  Google's shameless response, to Murdock's embarrassment too, was simply "place a robots.txt file and let us know not go there".  For the record, Murdock's news sites didn't do this and the story ended there.

Now with the Facebook IPO only a fews days away, I was curious to see the contents of facebook's robots.txt file.  In a nutshell, most search engines (explicitly) are told to not index many of the main pages like photos, feeds, etc. So here is Facebook collecting tons of information on people, pictures, preferences, etc. and yet google can't even touch it -- ouch.  That's like going to a fight with your best weapon -- just that you're weapon doesn't work.

You can see it here http://www.facebook.com/robots.txt


Google's plus.google.com robots file looks like this and can be viewed directly here plus.google.com/robots.txt

Categories:   Software
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