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

Cross Multiply Mental Calculation iPhone App Ver 1.1

Saturday, 12 May 2012 17:33 by Michael Olivero

 

 

This is the latest update to the original cross multiplication application released a few weeks ago -- original posting here

Version 1.1 of the app allowed me to practice with threading as well as state.  The app has an interactive timer which is not intrusive by starting/stopping automatically.  Your best error-free scores are saved so you can challenge yourself to beat it over and over.

 

Cross Multiply Mental Calculation iPhone App

Friday, 27 April 2012 19:42 by Michael Olivero

Update 5/9/2012:

 

-------------------------------------------------

Yusnier Viera, a former co-worker and current world record holder in calendar mental calculation, brought to my attention the concept of cross multiplying.  After learning the basics and practicing over time, I have been able to successfully multiply upto four digit by four digit computations in my head.  Since the exercise is stimulating and to a certain extent entertaining, I decided to build an iPhone application to easily practice.

Unlike paper and pencil, using an iPhone app allows for immediate feedback while entering the answer.  I've been learning how to develop iOS apps for both iPhone & iPad and I am on the verge of releasing this application.  Since I'm anxious to get it out to the world, I have defer creating the tutorial, the statistics page as well as game center integration, until future updates.

I decided to give the app a representative iconic person, so Einstein fit the bill.

 

Once loaded, you are presented with the home screen where you can link out to a video tutorial or simply start the app.

 

 

Once started, you can interactively create up to 4x4 multiplications to test your mental calculating abilities.  In a future update, I'll hook it up to game center and keep track of best times for each type as well as increase the scale up to 8x8.

 

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iPad3 WiFi connection issues resolved

Thursday, 5 April 2012 21:51 by Michael Olivero

I believe I have a solid work around for the the wifi issue where disconnects occur. First it appears only to happen when connecting to wireless-n connections. Wireless-g doesn't seem to have any problems.  Note this is only for the repeated disconnects and has nothing to do with the low signal issue some have mentioned. For the record, I have a 32gb Verizon iPad.

The symptoms are as follows.  

Symptoms:

  • You connect fine and surf fine. Put the iPad to sleep or come back to it later after sleeping automatically and your wifi is not connected.
  • When tapping the previously connected wifi to reconnect you are usually asked to enter the password again.
  • When you connect the first time, it says failed to connect but re-tap the join button it connects.
  • If you turn off wifi and then turn it back on  it doesn't reconnect.
  • Once connected to the wifi, if you click on the right arrow to go to the details you will NOT see the "forget this wifi" button even though you are connected.
 
 

If you fall in any of those scenarios, this WILL solve your problem in the interim until Apple updates software. In short it seems as though the wifi is not stored or remembered.

 

Solution:

Configure wifi manually, explicitly typing your wifi's broadcast name, explicitly choose the security your wifi is using (wep, wpa, wpa2, etc. ) and then proceed to enter your password. Once connected if you go to the details of the connection you should see the "forget this wifi" button. If you do, you can now rest assured it will allways reconnect and  the above symptoms can no longer be reproduced.

4/12/2012 Addendum:

Not sure if this is related or not, however I have the "Ask to Join Networks" feature off in the wifi settings too. 

 

4/13/2012 Addendum:

Here I show how easily I can reproduce the automatic disconnects because the iPad doesn't remember the wifi connection.  My solution, and working now for weeks without a problem, has been to set it up manually.  Interestingly, after setting it up manually, I haven't had to set other networks manually as they connect and remember fine.  It's only the first one it seems or my home one.

5/2/2012 Addendum:

Updating the router firmware has resolved this issue in two separate situations (my home and a friends home).

Good luck!

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iOS5 battery issue with iPhone4

Thursday, 20 October 2011 20:40 by Michael Olivero

Battery Life Resolved

I was extremely delighted with my iPhone4 battery life.  With my work exchange mail and gmail set to push and normal use, I could go about two days sometimes without needing to charge.  I would go to bed with say 60% charge and wakeup with 58% remaining.

When I installed iOS5, this all came to a crashing halt.  Initially I though it was the new iCloud stuff doing an initial sync or backup, but after a few days the drain continued.  I tried the multitude of things from rebooting, to turning off location services, removing some unnecessary items from the notification center, pretty much everything in the book.  While this alleviated the situation partially, it was nowhere near what it was pre-iOS5.

I read through most of the postings on the Apple forum regarding this issue ( https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3387864 ).  One posting in particular mentioned a process taking up 50% cpu.  I'm not sure how he measured this process, but it dawn on me to cold boot the phone rather than warm boot.  Unlike a computer, warm booting (sliding the red slider after holding the sleep wake button a few seconds) the iPhone saves the state of the apps and presumably the running processes and returns them back to the original state after the phone starts up.  If you don't believe, try warm booting and then go into to running tasks (double clicking home bottom) and you'll see all your previously launched apps still there.

To make a long story short, while I did turn off some features (I'll list them below in case it helps some folks) I feel the cold boot is truly what returned the iPhone back to its pre-iOS5 battery consumption.  Cold booting is simply holding the home button down while simultaneously holding the sleep/wake button for a few additional seconds after the red slider to shut off appears until it turns off on its own and then pressing the sleep/wake button to turn it back on.

Today it charged to 90% while driving to the office and by lunch time it was 87% -- now that's definitely pre-iOS5 battery life!  During lunch, I used it for a while dropping it to 83%.  By the time I arrived home in the afternoon it was 80% (I didn't use it much for the remainder of the day).  Once home I did a 20 minute jog with RunKeeper gps-tracking me all the time while listening to streaming podcasts via stitcher.  Looking at my phone now after a few hours after the jog, its at 69%.  So I can claim with certainty, the pre-iOS5 battery life has returned.

So, first thing you should try is cold booting the phone.  Just in case it's another culprit, I'll list a few of the other changes I made.

I'm going to reactivate some of the features below one by one over the next few days, even though I do not believe they are the root cause but here they are anyways:

  • turned off location services for the weather
    • (since it's on the notification center, it's probably always checking location)
  • turned off all iCloud features except the features I like the most:  contact sync, find my iPhone, photo stream, documents & data, & iCloud backup
    • (i thought bookmarks where probably the culprit after realizing the bookmarks are constantly in sync and it coincidentally has a history folder I presumed was syncing constantly as I surfed on my work and home iMacs).

Is Apple another bargain when the stock opens 6% lower from the previous close?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011 00:05 by Michael Olivero

Imagine if Microsoft, a similarly comparable large company like Apple, would all of a sudden gain 54% in profit. Would its stock tank 5 or 6% because they didn't sell as many licenses of Windows as economists had projected?  No, on the contrary it will rise like 10% on such profound news for typically lethargically large companies of their size.  The funny thing, this is not a one time event, this is a continual event every quarter for sometime now and will continue for a few more as the world settles into the iPad as they did with the iPhone and of course the App Store, the only place you can legitimately buy apps for it, will continue growing too.   The 4th quarter is going to be that much more of a smashing success with iPhone projections as the 3rd quarter wasn't because the sales of iPhones, which dropped in 3rd quarter due to lack of product launch in June, will fall over to 4th quarter from the iPhone 4S product launch.  So of course, when comparing Q3 2011 to Q3 2010, there is inevitably going to be some differences -- especially with the successful iPhone4 being the growth factor then.

To blatantly compare Q3 2011 with Q4 2010 in gross iPhone sales and fuss over the unsatisfied expectations has got to be the most misconstrued news I have ever heard.  This only reinforces Peter Lynch investment style of investing in what you know and you'll beat the analysts every time.  No matter which way you slice it, AAPL has 81 billion in the bank accruing at 6.5 billion per quarter, no debt, 54% increase in profit and product portfolios which are no where near becoming stagnant.  New product revenue lines like App Store, iPad, & strongly increasing revenue from existing product lines like iPhone, MacBook, iTunes (#1 digital music store) -- it's a 100% no brainer this stock will continue to push upwards for the near future.  Any drop should be considered a discounted buying opportunity.  

Oh, and this is before the announcement of their touch based iMacs which will lay slightly inclined on your desk similar to the iPad, still with a slide out keyboard for keyboard dependent apps , and any other new upcoming product line.

I'll write again when the price is at 500 and I'll reassess the situation then to see if we can expect more.  Buying now will give you roughly a 25% return from 400 to 500 within 12 months.

 

 

UPDATE 11/28/2011

Apple Stock today closed at 376.12.  It's an extreme bargain.  I just read various articles which simply justify my gut feeling.  One reported iPhone4S sales so large in Britain, it became the #1 in sales, even beating Andriod -- a feat many people thought was impossible given the diversity of Android devices at various price points.  Another article, states teens have listed iPhone & iPad with the same level of desire as cash and clothes on their holiday wish lists.  Yet, another, from a financial perspective, compares Apple stellar performance in comparison to it's current stock price.  Every financial metric used to value the stock have it as extremely undervalued.  Anyone buying at today's price will reap an easy 30% gain on the way up to 500.  Lets just hope the financial crisis doesn't bring a general recession/depression -- the only thing which could drag down the stock.

Apple Revolutionizing Retail Support with iPhone & GPS!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011 13:19 by Michael Olivero

 

I was at the Apple store the other day and was quite surprised the Apple store iPhone app interacts with the store once you are within the vicinity.  I was going for a Mac genius appointment and the process was so smooth words cannot do it justice.  Checkout these screenshots I took of the whole process.

The pictures left to right speak for themselves...super smooth.   Notice iPhone's time indicator from for the duration of the screen shots from 3:07 to 3:22.

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iOS 4.2 and iPad with Camera coming soon...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010 13:26 by Michael Olivero
During Apple recent press conference showcasing all their new hardware and software toys, Jobs introduced a new feature called High Dynamic Range photos (HDR) where the iPhone combines an under exposed picture with an over exposed picture making a strikingly beautiful combined picture. Well, as part of his presentation he also previewed iOS 4.2 to be released in November. As he introduced it, he mentioned all the various features coming to the iPad ..including multitasking, folders, new printing feature, etc. and HDR photos. How can HDR photos exist if the iPad doesn't have a camera?...Well that's the new guessing game... I say we have a 7" iPad coming to town in November. If it were the same size iPad, this may alienate some existing iPad customers, but if they introduce a newer model with slightly new hardware features, they are set for the holiday season smash!
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iPhone 4 antenna glitch real or not?

Thursday, 15 July 2010 01:41 by Michael Olivero

Much uproar has occurred with the latest iPhone and possible antenna glitch since it's release on June 24th. I personally haven't experienced any issues as I bought the Apple case which conveniently shields the iPhone from any human interference with it's exposed metallic antenna. However, in lieu of various blogs and spurious examples of how the antenna fails to function properly when touched in the special "death grip" area, I decided to conduct my own set of tests and reach my own set of conclusions. This is the area in question among all the news media.

First, the antenna system is the casing of the iPhone. As Jobs mentioned in his presentation, the core frame structure is the metallic antenna frame. So there are two pieces of metal separated in two areas. One of the areas is the lower left side with the phone facing forward, and the other is the the slit on top near the microphone jack. When I performed my own test, I was able to lose a few bars of signal repeatedly. I didn't drop a call or lose call quality, but the bars did reduce from five to about three. Since the two antennas are separated in two different locations, one must assume the conductivity issue should also have a similar effect if touched on the other slit on top.

When touching the slit on the top however, no effect whatsoever occurs with the signal strength bars. This really spurred my curiosity because I was expecting to have the same results -- at least partially. With my continued intrigue, I decided to perform some speed tests while on 3G as some others have done.

In doing so, since the speed test refreshes continuously, I came across an a definitive conclusion -- 3G data could be affected 100%. As shown in my video test below, I can effectively stop the progress of the test by simply touching the affected area and then allow it to continue by releasing it. Curiously, this effect again doesn't materialize when we touch the top slit which also separates both antennas. So the next step was to switch to Edge network. More surprisingly, when switched to the Edge network, the lower left touch has no effect whatsoever also. I'm not a signal expert, but I would presume the 3G has a more sensitive or higher frequency signal which is more sensitive to the touch over the Edge signal. If this can be automatically tuned when touched vs. not touched via software much like a noise cancellation microphone removes ambient noise in a regular phone call, then we may have a software solution.

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My venture in owning a piece of the Apple pie and why you should own it too

Thursday, 5 November 2009 01:05 by Michael Olivero

Prior to the January 2007 announcement of the impending iPhone, I was already a minor shareholder of Apple for their fine set of products.  Ironically, I had not yet owned an Apple product beside a mere iPod nano obtained through a holiday party raffle.  I invested a small amount simply on the news they had decided on switching over to Intel CPU's for their entire product line. The reason was not simply because Intel carries more weight in the industry or because Apple computers are to benefit from the higher processing power of the de facto leader in semi's, but simply because an Apple computer has now become "doubly" valuable when compared to mere PC.  With an Apple computer, I can not only run Apple's OS and all their slick consumer geared applications, but I can also quickly boot over to a full native Windows OS with a simple key press when turning it on.  Initially Apple lacked direct support for such a boot feature and most of the press focused on the ability to virtualize Windows within Mac OS.  Parallels and VMWare Fusion, the two main competing mac virtualization softwares, effortlessly ran to the spotlight as the way to run Windows within a Mac.  Ultimately Apple caught headwind of this frenzy and no more than few months, Mac had native dual boot feature for anyone wanting to run Windows and Mac as a choice with a single button click at boot time. In short, a Mac, all of a sudden, presented a very valuable proposition for any serious Windows user in the market for a new computer. A year or so later, the iPhone is announced.  My gosh, is this thing for real I remember asking myself.  The stock price that day was roughly in the 80's if I recall correctly and had jumped about 8% following the announcement.  While I'm not an investor on day to day news, I am however a long term investor and any news having a definitive impact on longterm will always surely fork me to action.  I was sold from the moment jobs scrolled the music list with his finger in public for the first time -- and I wasn't the only one.

Video Jobs Demoing iPhone for first time in public:

So I decided to up the ante a bit for the longterm, Apple had an Ace card. As the woo's and wow's resonated in blogospheres and hallways of corporate and consumer america in a relentless fashion never seen before, I was certain my ante was safe for the long term.  The impact was clearly evident in multiple sectors, music, phone, entertainment -- even to the distaste of some non-believing computer sector titans.

Balmer laughs as first comment to iPhone

Launch day, June 29, 2007.  Having performed my share of voluntarily marketing for the weeks and months leading up to release, my coworkers knew I would be one of those unfortuanate souls waiting in line for their purchasing opportunity. [gallery link="file" columns="2"] The last time I saw lines forming with this voracity was Microsoft's release of Windows 95.  At that time, I was too young to understand and apply Peter Lynch's investment style -- invest in what you know and are certain of, however had I, I would have reaped the benefits as Microsoft dominated the desktop and business software category the following 5 to 10 -- year over year.  That missed opportunity only served as a reminder and a lesson learned for any future opportunity -- and this may be it. This frenzy served only to convince me I am not alone, and this is a domestic occurrence for product already planed and destined for international release.  The ante must be increased -- the long term odds are too good to be true. For the weeks and months that followed, I decided to stalk the Apple stores around south Florida.  Initially I was simply a member of the of the frenzied group interested in all things Apple.  I was going at my leisure when time permitted, however in short order I realized the frenzy, post iPhone launch, simply continued.  You couldn't walk through an Apple store without saying "excuse me" at least a half a dozen times if not more just to navigate the main corridors.  I immediately questioned, is this frenzy having a halo effect on Apple and it's entire product line? Coincidentally the iPhone launch was on the last two days of Apple's fiscal quarter so the full effect, particularly the halo effect, should be recognized and felt on their next quarterly announcement. Touring the Apple stores became an interesting game of quasi-interrogation with various Apple staff and geniuses from store to store.  Questions were phrased with basic customer interest as an allegory to a relentless statistical business analyst.  Throughout the fiscal quarter, I visited each south Florida store at least twice -- shaving the last bit of doubt for an all-in wager as I was witnessing the perfect hand forming. Interestingly enough, while working at Inktel Direct, the President, Ricky Arriola, happend to give a presentation on leadership as a kick of to a series of successful internal training seminares termed "Idea" (Inktel Direct Excellence Academy) a few days prior to Apple's quarterly announcement.  Already motivated by the various topics presented, a topic which resonated was making a decision -- leaders don't teeter on a topic longer than necessary and more often than not make a decision and take direction.  This inspiration from the presentation and the highlight of that one particular topic combined with Apple quarterly announcement imminent and the bag full of statistical measures all pointing to a  royal flush, the "all in" call was a no brainer at 3:50PM before markets closed prior to Apple's after market quarterly announcement.  Chip gathering followed at 9:40AM shortly after markets open the following day.  Ironically, I must emphasize I truly don't condone or recommend any type of short term trading of this fashion as the only sure fire way to win in markets is Buffet & Lynch's style with long term solid positions. Apple was on the rise.  All throughout 2008 reaching a peak of about $200/share at end of 2007 prior to the general collapse of the markets.  As the markets collapsed, Apple, as much any company in any sector, suffered as the exodus of investors seeking a safe haven in treasuries, bonds, and other low risk fixed income investments. Are the fundamentals of Apple really affected though?

TIME magazine named iPhone invention of the year

The rumor mill for a new iPhone becomes rampant, an iPhone which connects to the faster 3G network.  The blogosphere lights up again, this time with spy fotos from China factories confirming the imminent release.  For a recession, Apple seems to be capturing all the spare attention and dollars at the expense of all other non-essential items. iPhone 3G launch day, lines abound even further. Here is a video I recorded while arriving at Aventura mall in Florida.  In a recession, lines like these convinced me to play more long term rounds in the Apple game.

iPhone 3G launch in Aventura Mall, July 7 2008

Store congestion not only continues, but actually increases as it's difficult to even walk through a store during the 2008 holiday season.  Can this long term game ever have any signs of ending?  During this time, the financial crisis is in full swing.  Henry Paulson and Bernanke are feverishly trying to get emergency liquidity approved and injected into the economy through the treasury as Bernanke had virtually exhausted all his options from a federal reserve perspective. It was literally chaos in D.C. and economically as a whole.  Ironically, while financial armageddon was occurring domestically with trickling effects internationally, Apple stores were flush full with holiday shoppers.  I'm I seeing an oxymoran here or what? Despite Apple shares suffering along side all companies, I decided to apply Lynch's & Buffet's philosophy along with the typical dollar cost averaging during the continued down turn.  The company long term is solid, it's fundamentals are solid, it's sitting on tons of cash with no debt and customers abound.  Lets start the wagers.  I don't have the full house assured in my hand, however I'm certain the turn or the river will complete my flush long term. With each down turn of $10 in share price, the ante was matched.  It was painstakingly difficult to continue this pace from $190/share through to $80/share -- but images of Buffet preaching fundamentals soothed my anxiety and gave me confidence with each submission. By the time $80/share came around I was too heavy in Apple.  Apple far outweighed my portfolio 10:1 if not 20:1 -- I needed to diversify, and no better time to do so than on the down low.  A weekend long research, steadfastly applying Buffet's value approach and some stats filtering tools putting me neck deep into P/E, debt, revenue qtr to qtr, stochastics and bollingers for hours on end,  I arrived at a solid list of fundamental stocks by Sunday evening.  Ricky's presentation echoed in my mind again -- a decision needs to be made -- should I throw new capital at the fire or simply reduce some Apple at a loss.  Buffet kept me from selling at a loss just for capital reasons -- fundamentally, Apple is too good and I barely gave it the time necessary to fulfill it's long term destiny.  Done.  Timing on late February 2009, the theoretical bottom of this recession, was purely coincidental and the long term bandwagon officially commenced. Quarter after Quarter, the sound of Apple increasing it's market share in the computer space resonated and brought a subtle smirk.  iPhone exceeding sale expectations, 3GS with video launches in mid summer brining demand so high problems with fulfilment and inventory plague Apple for weeks.  World wide launches continue in other countries where even my cousin in Uruguay is now aware of a company called Apple and their infamous iPhone.  Apple erecting stores world wide at a pace faster than people fill their gas tanks.   Wall street journal classifies Apple's brand within spitting distance of titans like Coca-Cola, Google, & Microsoft and first in regional ares such as Asia.

WSJ 9/11/2009 - Apple ranked as region's most admired multinational company

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125259938989400063.html

The explosive growth is so horrendous, for lack of a better word, Microsoft had to rethink their strategy from a full business perspective.  Ads now target Apple directly, something lacking from Microsoft now for over a two decades.  Their mobile phone strategy had to take a full about face and consider touch screens and hardware innovations as key priorities.  To get closer to the consumer, Microsoft saw the need to open resembling retail outlets -- the first opening less than a month ago on Oct 23.

Microsoft opens first retail store:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,569264,00.html

To bring finality on this growth segment, while Apple has a steadily increasing market share for computers sales currently at 8-9%, setting aside all the low end laptops and desktops sold and only considering computers in the $1k range and up, apple commands a 91% market share, up roughly 40% from their 66% the year earlier. In overall conclusion, although Apple is currently a large cap with slow stymied growth, the numbers are extremely good and investor appreciation, be it stock or dividends, are sure to materialize more long term.  It's additionally rumored, Apple will be changing the accounting rules on iPhone sales.  Instead of spreading the sale over two years, as a subsidized product by AT&T, Apple may soon start accounting for the full value upfront.  If this occurs, Apple earnings report would have a redbull injection to boot. P.S. Oh, I forgot to mention Apple is now the #1 music distributor, leapfrogging Amazon, Best Buy, Wal-Mart in roughly two to three years of massive iPod expansion and sheer dominance in portable music devices.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2008/04/apple-passes-wal-mart-now-1-music-retailer-in-us.ars

Comics 2.0 in the Digital World?

Wednesday, 27 August 2008 04:17 by Michael Olivero
While I have enjoyed the recent Hollywood iteration of Marvel comics with movies such as Superman, Spiderman, Hulk, etc., I have never been a reader of comics books themselves. Reading through my typical news articles I found an intriguing article about Apple banning a comic book based app called Murderdrome.  Apple, according to the SDK guidelines, reserves the full right to reject any application which may be offensive to some people.  It's very concerning to me when content beyond the obvious porn and blatant gore is blocked from being available through the App Store. If an international news application, not bound by domestic censorship rules, posts a graphic image of a war scene in their news application as part of an article -- can this now embody Apple to remove the application from the App Store? Due to lack of access, I have yet to preview the Murderdrome app to determine how graphic the scenes may be, but based on the YouTube video below it's plan comics and far from any graphic or questionable content. Presuming Murderdrome simply has a controversial name and their content was actually quite the contrary to from the name's suggestion, would Apple have accepted the App?  And if so, would they take it out afterwards when the content transitioned slowly to the more murderous scenes as the name implies.  As you can see, it's a very blurry line Apple has their work cut out for them if they are going to play the "Content Cop" in their App Store. The matter of fact is this App is very revolutionary.  Just by watching the YouTube video, I learned about the way comic are from pencil, to ink, to color -- granted, one could have derived this through simple thought and this should probably indicate how distant I am from comics in general. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CecFio3gIOA [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CecFio3gIOA] Bottom line though, Infurious, the makers of Murderdrome, decided to exploit the iPhone features to expose the entire process to the reader -- an innovative feat clearly seen in their YouTube video. In essence, they capture the three representative images for each scene during the stages of development (the pencil, inking, and final colorized step).  As you interact with the comics by flipping through the screens, you can drill down to either of the three images by dragging down or up. So if you like comics with the pencil look, you have it.  If you like comics in their full color mode -- you have it to.  If you are simply the curious observer on how they created a particular screen, stop and flip through the three versions accordingly. This is simply another demonstration of how digitization enhances the experience of a traditional medium beyond a simple port.   References: http://www.macworld.com/article/135205/2008/08/comic.html?lsrc=rss_main
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