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Comment Re:How many here have an iPhone 4? (Score 2, Informative) 282

a) Yes, I have an iPhone 4.
b) Yes, I can recreate the signal drop issue (although I can't get it to drop to zero).
c) No, I don't consider it to be a fatal flaw.

To expand:
a) I bought one on launch day after reserving it back on June 15th. Not much else to say there.

b) By palming the phone in my left hand, I can get the signal bars to drop from five bars to three bars. I've also performed speed tests to compare 3G speeds when held differently. Here are those results (using the app):

Held in Right Hand: 4.14Mbps down, 1.38Mbps up, 396ms ping
Held in Left Hand: 3.16Mbps down, 0.49Mbps up, 1208ms ping

So yes, palming the phone in the left hand has a measurable impact on signal quality.

c) I didn't bother doing this test until I'd actually heard this was an issue, because I simply didn't notice it. The first thing I did with my iPhone when I had it out of the box and was still in the Apple Store was put it in a bumper case.

When I'd heard there was an issue, I asked my girlfriend if she'd had any issues, but she also didn't notice it. Her phone isn't in a case, but she holds her phone in her right hand.

/*It must also vary from person to person, as she can only get my phone to drop down to four bars instead of three. I think it's because my palms tend to sweat.*/

Once it was isolated to the bottom left corner on the MacRumors forum, I took my phone out of the case, palmed it, thought "huh, interesting", ran speed tests, then put my case back on and went on about my business.

So yeah, the issue is a non-issue if you are right handed, or if you are going to put your iPhone 4 in a case.

Now, I realize that that isn't going to be good enough for most people here on slashdot. Apple is putting form over function, it's unreasonable to expect people to hold their phone differently, etc, etc, etc. Fair points all around.

But I honestly am not bothered by it. I was planning on buying a case anyway, and even if I weren't, the vast majority of calls I make or take are done with the included headset (meaning I'm not touching the phone at all). Plus, the phone is still a noticeable step up in speed, battery life, screen quality, and reception (even despite the "fatally flawed" antenna) over the iPhone 3G it replaced.

YMMV and all, but I think this issue is being blown out of proportion. It's a flaw, but it's not a dealbreaker. It's at worst a minor annoyance on what is, to me, still the best smartphone on the market for what I want/need in a phone (sorry Android, you've come a long way since the G1, and I dig the Evo's giant screen, but iOS4 is still better polished and the App Store still has more quality apps). All of that last paragraph is IMHO, of course, and is worth only the requisite $0.02. Not a cent more or less.

Comment Re:Obviously... (Score 1) 207

To counter anecdote with anecdote -

I read for about an hour or two before bed on my iPad nightly, which is about how long I would spend reading dead-tree books before my iPad (if not a bit longer, since I can read in the dark and not disturb my sleeping girlfriend). I'm not the biggest reader, I know, but I think I read enough to be able to comment on the experience.

I have noticed NO headache, eye fatigue, etc. from reading on an electronic screen. Maybe I'm the lucky one, or maybe it's because I already spend many hours a day in front of a screen at work that my eyes are used to it, but I don't find it detrimental to my eyes or health to read on a computer screen instead of some dead-tree or e- paper.

And for what it's worth, you can adjust the font size of the text and change the font itself to suit your eyes. I tend to like it slightly smaller to fit as much text on the screen at once, but a lot of people bump the size for their bad eyes.

Comment ATI's Radeon HD4770 beats it (Score 1) 208

ATI's Radeon HD4770 would be this card's analogue (mainstream DX10 hardware around $100) - widely available at around $110 on Newegg, and according to this review:,699611/Geforce-GT-240-Nvidias-fastest-DirectX-101-graphics-card-reviewed/Reviews/

Handily beats this GT240 across the board. I'd say it's worth more than the extra $10.

Moreover, I think it's a shame this is so far the only review I've found comparing the GT240 to the HD4770. The above review pits it against the HD5750 and HD5770, which are in a completely different league, being DX11 hardware.

Comment Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru (Score 1) 461

I had always imagined Kirk was much more subtle with his "rigging" of the kobayashi maru test and I was really disappointed to see such a blatant and brainless resetting of the entire program as opposed to a small alteration that gave him just enough of an edge to win somehow.

Do you know how Kirk rigged the test in the original universe? He reprogrammed the test so that the Klingons were scared the very name of "The Captain Kirk" and complied out of fear. I don't know if I consider that subtle or not (though it's surely more egotistical), but it definitely didn't just "give him enough of an edge." After all, if you're cheating, you're doing it to make it easy for yourself. :)

Comment GH = Sight Reading (Score 2, Interesting) 106

I'm really good at Guitar Hero - not the best, but the best of my circle of friends. Beat every song on expert on Guitar Hero III except "Through the Fire and Flames" and the Devil battle.

I also have eight years of guitar playing (mostly original compositions in a few indie rock and punk bands) and six years of violin/fiddle from when I was younger (classical ensembles and quartets).

Interestingly, I think that I use what I learned from violin playing more when I play GH. That's because you know what I realized GH really is?

Sight reading.

It's vertical sight reading instead of horizontal, but still the same thing (and better in some ways, since you don't have to flip your own pages). Being able to see a line coming and mentally prepare my fingers for the actions they're about to perform is exclusively what I did on violin (not so much on guitar).

You're right about the big difference between guitar and guitar-hero, of course - five buttons does not equate to six strings and 22 frets as far as movements your hands make. However, Guitar Hero is great for teaching two things that definitely come in handy for work - coordination of two hands (one strumming, one making movements on the fretboard), and proper timing (because I'm sure you're annoyed as I am when you're trying to jam with a guitarist that has no rhythm).

For people who are just learning the instrument and may be interested in reading tab or musical score, the sight reading aspect of GH is valuable as well.

The learning curve is definitely steep (as with all instruments), but I have personally witnessed two people pick up real guitar because of how much fun they have with GH. Seems that they're sticking with it, too.

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