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Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus






Yesterday Tim Cook announced the new generation iPhone. One size fits all no longer applies.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

We have gotten used to Steve Jobs telling us how the new iPhone looks like and we just decide on the color that fits us. Suddenly now we have to choose between 4.7″ and 5.5″. I still stand by the importance of usability in one hand, so 4.7″ is the natural choice for me. Using the Xiaomi MI3 as my secondary phone, the 5.0″ size is already a tad too big for one handed operation. I’m not one that watches drama on the phone frequently, so the slight decrease in screen real estate will be largely compensated by the usability derived from the smaller size.

Plenty of review sites has the low down on the features and differences so i won’t go into details. Coming from an iPhone 5, i would really want to see how i can utilize the Touch ID to secure applications, notes and also be used for contact-less payments, aka Apple Pay. The missing bit from the current contact-less payment system is the fingerprint authorization. With NFC built in now, i foresee endless possibilities to streamline payments and security system based on the combination of both.

Pre-order opens on 12th September 2014 in Singapore (Hong Kong, Australia and Japan are the other Asia countries) and ships on September 19th. Below are the pricing for Singapore.

iPhone 6 price table Singapore

iPhone 6 price table Singapore

Notice that they have removed the 32GB variant and step up immediately to 64GB. In this day and age, the amount of data stored on the phone is tremendous, so 16GB is probably for very light users. 64GB would be the sweet spot for many, including myself.

Waiting for Singtel to release news on their iPhone 6 pre-order now!





Xiaomi MI3 – Instagram upload turns into black image

The recent update for Instagram for Android has caused some of my Xiaomi MI3 uploads to turn black. It is extremely frustrating, especially after all that painstaking effort to make your picture look the way you want.

MI3insta1

Fortunately, there is a fix.




Go to your profile tab (bottom right). The go to the OPTIONS page by click the three-dot icon on the top right corner.

MI3insta2

 

Under SETTINGS, click on Camera.
MI3insta3

 

By default, Use High-Quality Image Processing is turned ON. Slide the switch left to turn it OFF.
MI3insta4

 

Viola! No more black photo uploads!

Choosing the (super) ideal diamond

In my quest to find the perfect proposal ring for my girlfriend, i’ve embarked on a journey to learn more about diamonds. It is something that one rarely pays any attention to, only relevant when you need to get one for your partner. I started on the HWZ forums, where there is an active thread on proposal rings and diamond discussion.  It is also the the place where i picked up most useful and relevant information, mostly from users that went through the same thought process when breaking the cherry on getting a proposal ring. For most,  it is our first time (and hopefully last), and diamond is a huge monetary investment, so most would like to get the best bang for their buck.

Most are familiar with the 4Cs – Carat, Clarity, Color, Cut.

 

Carat

The social norm focus mainly on carat, which usually is mistaken as the size of the diamond, but is actually the weight(mass). Reason i pointed this out is that you can have two diamonds of the same carat weight but one will appear larger than the other depending on way the diamond was cut.

Color

Diamonds occur naturally in all colours of the rainbow. Generally, the rarest diamonds exhibit no colour at all (apart from fancy colours). Polished diamonds are graded for minute variations in depth of colour, from ‘colourless’ to ‘light colour’. This is universally known as the D (meaning ‘exceptional white’) to Z (‘tinted colour) colour scale. D, E, F are considered colourless. From my personal experience, I would actually go all the way down to a “G” color, as you can’t really see the yellow tint unless placed directly beside a much whiter diamond.

Clarity

When we speak of a diamond’s clarity, we are referring to the presence of identifying characteristics on (blemishes) and within (inclusions) the stone. It is graded as per below:

F – Flawless: No internal or external flaws. Extremely rare.
IF – Internally Flawless: no internal flaws, but some surface flaws. Very rare.
VVS1-VVS2 – Very Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions very difficult to detect under 10x magnification by a trained gemologist. VVS1 means the inclusion is on the bottom half of the diamond, and VVS2 means it is on the top half of the diamond.
VS1-VS2 -Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification. VS1 means the inclusion is on the bottom half of the diamond, and VS2 means it is on the top half of the diamond.
SI1-SI2 – Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions more easily detected under 10x magnification. SI1 means the inclusion is on the bottom half of the diamond, and SI2 means it is on the top half of the diamond.
I1-I2-I3 – Included (three grades). Inclusions visible under 10x magnification AS WELL AS to the human eye. Not recommend buying diamonds in any of these grades.

Some common inclusions, as represented on the diamond’s cert, are Cloud, Feather, Pinpoint (the shape of the inclusions and blemishes).  My personal recommendation is at least get a VS2 diamond that is eye clean (can’t tell with naked eye looking VERY closely and carefully). Unless you are very concerned about the resale value of your diamond, you will need a 10x loupe to see the inclusions.

NOTE: Do not get blemish or inclusions that are near the girdle (edge of diamond), as it makes the diamond vulnerable to cracking when impact is applied. Diamond are the hardest element, but under these circumstances, can be brittle.

 

Cut

The cut is perhaps the most important factor in a diamond.  Cut is expressed in terms of the brilliance, fire and scintillation of a diamond. To maximise sparkle, a diamond must be cut to very specific parameters of angle and dimension with a strict attention to the polished finish of the diamond. General norm is that so long a diamond has a GIA Triple-Excellent or AGS Triple-Ideal (on Cut, Symmetry, Polish) rating, it is guaranteed to be a good diamond.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but a 3EX grading does not surely ensure a well cut diamond. This will only give you an Ideal cut diamond. To get the best diamond, we need to find the Super Ideal cut diamond.

 

Finding the Super Ideal diamond

If you inspect your GIA cert, you will see a number of values on the diamond. These values can help you filter out the great diamonds from the not-so-good ones. As the fire and scintillation mostly depends on light reflections, there are some values to take note of to ensure a well cut diamond. This will separate a Super Ideal cut from a normal Ideal cut.

 

1. Firstly, use the Holloway Cut Advisor (HCA tool) to determine it’s potential Light Return, Fire, Scintillation and Spread performance. A score of  below 1.5 is recommended. The lower the HCA score, the better the performance.

The Light Return, Fire and Scintillation should all return “Excellent“. Spread can be “Very Good” or “Excellent”.

URL: http://www.pricescope.com/tools/hca

 

2. Choose a diamond with values within these ranges for optimal performance

Pavilion Angle: range 40.3° – 41.1° (40.6° – 40.8° is optimum)

Total Depth: 59% To 62%

Crown angle: range 33.4° – 36.4° (34° – 35° is optimum)

Table Size: 53% To 58% (54%-57% is optimum)

Lower Girdle Halve length: 75% To 80% (77% is optimum)

Star Facet Length: 40% To 58% (45%-50% is optimum)

(values adapted from heartsandarrows.com)

To know more about what these values does, you can check out Hearts and Arrows DNA page.

 

3. Put the diamond under an ASET & IDEAL scope to see the symmetry of the cut. Nothing beats seeing it with your own eyes. Below is a reference comparison on the high performance diamonds compared to the rest of the common diamonds.

 

ASET scope and Ideal scope images comparison

The performance qualities in round brilliants are predominantly direct light (RED in both tools) contrast pattern (BLUE in ASET, BLACK in Ideal Scope) and leakage (WHITE in both tools) so both tools are well-suited to analyzing rounds.

High Performance (Rounds)

In high performance rounds RED is dominant, broken by an even BLUE contrast pattern. GREEN is present in small, symmetrical quantities. WHITE leakage should be minimized.

Brightness and Dispersion

Abundant RED indicates abundant light return, which most people find appealing. The balance of dispersion or “fire” seen will depend on the diamond’s configuration or “make” and must be assessed in-person. Large tables and shallow crowns have more whiteness then fire. Small tables and high crowns have more fire than whiteness. Middle combinations are balanced.

Contrast

BLUE creates the contrast pattern in a round diamond. These areas are obscured by the observer in the face-up position. Tilt the diamond slightly and those areas erupt in light as others go dark. Tilt it more and they swap again. Keep tilting and the on-off sparkle you see is scintillation. In high performance diamonds the character of scintillation is influenced by the table and lower halves. Short lower halves result in fewer, broader flashes. Long lower halves create more numerous, smaller flashes. Middle combinations are balanced.

 

The Chosen One

After much tinkering, i settled on getting my diamond ring at JannPaul. I was not disappointed. The immense knowledge that they meticulously went through with me was definitely an eye opener. They have batches of Super Ideal diamonds for your selection, depending on your budget constraints and requirements. Below are the ASET and Ideal Scope images of the diamond i purchased.

 

JP Ideal Scope JP Aset Scope JP hearts and arrows JP actual diamond

 

Conclusion

There are of course more in depth research that you can do, but after reading pages after pages on selecting the holy grail of diamonds, i believe the points pointed out above is more than adequate for you to find a brilliant diamond for your beloved partner. Look out for her taking notice on any particular ring setting that she may like, be it vintage, tiffany-style, with 4 or 6-prongs etc. It will save yourself a lot less headache when it comes to figuring out what is it exactly that she will like.

When all else fails, ask. It is something that will be with her forever. The excitement of not know WHEN you will pop the question will still be special.

Apple iPad Air pricing comparion – Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, US, Hong Kong





As with my previous posting on the iPad 3 price comparison, i’m here to explore the pricing differentiation across various countries. With the iPad 3 pricing, Malaysia emerged as the cheapest place to get an iPad. This time round, i am comparing the pricing across five countries –Singapore, Malaysia,  Australia, US and Hong Kong.

I am using the lowest (16GB) and the highest (128GB) capacity for the Wifi-only and the Wifi + 4G models respectively. All pricing used are from the Space Grey models since there is no price difference for color choice on the Apple online store, and USD conversion are done using prevailing exchange rate (as of 9th Dec 2013) from XE.com. For the US Cellular iPad Air, i have used the ATT part number. Again, there is no price difference for the GSM/CDMA models.

CountryDescriptionPrice (native currency)Price (USD)
MalaysiaiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785ZP/A)RM 1,599.00$ 496.58
SingaporeiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785ZP/A)S$ 688.00$ 550.40
AustraliaiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785X/A)A$ 598.00$ 548.62
USAiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785LL/A)US$ 499.00$ 499.00
Hong KongiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785ZP/A)HK$ 3888$ 501.68
MalaysiaiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898ZP/A)RM 2,579.00$ 800.93
SingaporeiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898ZP/A)S$ 1,108.00$ 886.40
AustraliaiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898X/A)A$ 899.00$ 824.77
USAiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898LL/A)US$ 799.00$ 799.00
Hong KongiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898ZP/A)HK$ 6,288.00 $ 811.35
MalaysiaiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD794ZP/A)RM 2,029.00$ 630.12
SingaporeiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD794ZP/A)S$ 870.00$ 696.00
AustraliaiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD794X/A)A$ 749.00$ 687.16
USAiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (ME991LL/A - ATT)US$ 629.00$ 629.00
Hong KongiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD794P/A)HK$ 4,888.00$ 630.71
MalaysiaiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (ME987ZP/A)RM 2,999.00$ 931.37
SingaporeiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (ME987ZP/A)S$ 1288.00$ 1030.40
AustraliaiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (ME987X/A)A$ 1,049.00$ 962.39
USAiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (MF015LL/A - ATT)US$ 929.00$ 929.00
Hong KongiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (ME987ZP/A)HK$ 7,288.00$ 940.39

 
From the comparison table above, US is the cheapest place to get an iPad Air, with Malaysia coming at a very close second.

If you look at the 128GB 4G version, Singapore is retailing at US$1030.40 compared to the US at US$929.00. That is almost an 11% pricing difference, considering the fact that Singapore remains one of the cheapest country to get an iPad. This is partly due to the different taxes and duties, with European countries carrying an extra 25% premium over their US counterparts due to the higher sales tax across Europe.

 





How to: Transfer Google Contacts into iCloud easily




With the mobile platform war converging to two key players, Android and iOS, i am often asked how to migrate from one platform to another.

Here is a simple guide for Android users to migrate over to iOS via the use of Google Contacts (in your GMail) and iCloud. You will, of course, need to have a valid account on both.

1. Login to GMail.  Go to your Google Contacts (below the Google logo, click for drop down menu, select Contacts).

2. Click the More menu > Export.

Export to vCard format to import to iCloud

3. Choose the group or all of your contacts you wish to export, whichever you prefer. I selected “All Contacts” to export. Choose “vCard format” and click the Export button.

4. Choose “vCard format” and click the Export button.

5. Your browser will now automatically download or ask you to save a file named contacts.vcf. Put it on your desktop or a location you remember.

6. Log in to iCloud. www.icloud.com

7. Click on Contacts

8. Click on the gear button, and select Import vCard. Select the contact.vcf  file that you exported from Google Contacts in step 5. This will import all the contacts and might take a while, depending on the size of your contact list.

9. Once done, you should be able to see contacts propagated on your iCloud contact list.

10. On your iPhone/iPad, go to Settings > iCloud (sign in with the SAME iCloud account if you have not) and make sure Contacts is listed as ON. Contacts will slowly be synchronized over a period of time. (Mine took about 15minutes)

How to setup RSYNC backup on Linux (without password)




The following steps explains how to setup rsync over ssh that doesn’t ask for a password. This is helpful when you are scheduling a cron job for automatic backup using rsync.

1. Test rsync over ssh (with password):

Do a rsync to make sure it asks for the password for your account on the remote server, and successfully copies the files to the remote server.

The following example will synchronize the local folder /home/calvin to the remote folder /backup/calvin (on 192.168.200.10 server).

This should ask you for the password of your account on the remote server.

rsync -avz -e ssh /home/calvin/ root@192.168.200.10:/backup/calvin/

2. ssh-keygen generates keys.

Now setup ssh so that it doesn’t ask for password when you perform ssh. Use ssh-keygen on local server to generate public and private keys.

$ ssh-keygen
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:

Note: When it asks you to enter the passphrase just press enter key, and do not give any password here.

3. ssh-copy-id copies public key to remote host

Use ssh-copy-id, to copy the public key to the remote host.

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub 192.168.200.10

Note: The above will ask the password for your account on the remote host, and copy the public key automatically to the appropriate location.

4. Perform rsync over ssh without password

Now, you should be able to ssh to remote host without entering the password.

ssh 192.168.200.10

Mounting NFS file share for Oracle database




When installing an Iomega NAS to do Oracle database backup over network for a client, i came across a problem when mounting the NFS file share.

ORA-27054: NFS file system where the file is created or resides is not mounted with correct options

It turns out that Oracle requires a certain set of NFS mount options to work properly. After much testing and research online, i’ve collated the below options that works well for Oracle database mounts or backup over direct NFS (no buffer, direct I/O):

Solaris
rw,bg,hard,nointr,rsize=1048576,wsize=1048576,proto=tcp,noac,forcedirectio, vers=3,suid
AIX (5L)
cio,rw,bg,hard,nointr,rsize=1048576,wsize=1048576,proto=tcp,noac,vers=3,timeo=600
HP-UX 11i v3
rw,bg,vers=3,proto=tcp,noac,forcedirectio,hard,nointr,timeo=600,rsize=1048576,
wsize=1048576,suid
Linux x86
rw,bg,hard,nointr,rsize=1048576,wsize=1048576,tcp,actimeo=0,vers=3,timeo=600
Linux x86-64
rw,bg,hard,nointr,rsize=1048576,wsize=1048576,tcp,actimeo=0,vers=3,timeo=600

How to Jailbreak your iPhone 5, 4S, 4, 3GS or any iOS 6.x iDevice with evasi0n





Finally, evasi0n, the untethered jailbreak for iOS 6.x devices is here, meaning you can reboot your phone just like you normally would after the jailbreak.

 

List of compatible devices:

  • iPhone 3GS | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1
  • iPhone 4 | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1
  • iPhone 4S | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1
  • iPhone 5 | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1
  • iPod touch 4G | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1
  • iPod touch 5G | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1
  • iPad 2 | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1
  • The New iPad (third generation) | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1
  • iPad With Retina Display (fourth generation) | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1
  • iPad Mini | 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.1

As always, backup your data via iCloud over-the-air, or via iTunes in case something goes wrong.

Tested evasi0n on Mac OSX 10.8 with no problems. iPhone 5 (GSM) jailbroken in less than 5mins. Downloading packages from Cydia remains a challenge at this point due to sudden uptake in traffic. Tried to install SBSettings a couple of times but is getting timeouts on certain packages.

Download links for Windows/Mac/Linux on official site: http://www.evasi0n.com

Guides for using evasi0n from iClarified and ModMyi.

Credits to evad3rs team for making this jailbreak possible!


Linux / Unix / Mac crontab – how to add, install or list jobs

Different Types of cron Configuration

There are two different types of configuration files:

  1. The UNIX / Linux system crontab : Usually, used by system services and critical jobs that requires root like privileges. The sixth field (see below for field description) is the name of a user for the command to run as. This gives the system crontab the ability to run commands as any user.
  2. The user crontabs: User can installer their own jobs using the crontab command. The sixth field is the command to run, and all commands run as the user who created the crontab

How Do I Install / Create / Edit My Own Cronjobs?

To edit your crontab file, type the following command at the UNIX / Linux shell prompt:
$ crontab -e

Syntax of crontab (Field Description)

Your cron job looks as follows for user jobs:

 1 2 3 4 5 /path/to/command arg1 arg2

OR

 
1 2 3 4 5 /root/backup.sh

Where,

  • 1: Minute (0-59)
  • 2: Hours (0-23)
  • 3: Day (0-31)
  • 4: Month (0-12 [12 == December])
  • 5: Day of the week(0-7 [7 or 0 == sunday])
  • /path/to/command – Script or command name to schedule

 

Easy to remember format:

* * * * * command to be executed
- - - - -
| | | | |
| | | | ----- Day of week (0 - 7) (Sunday=0 or 7)
| | | ------- Month (1 - 12)
| | --------- Day of month (1 - 31)
| ----------- Hour (0 - 23)
------------- Minute (0 - 59)

 

Your cron job looks as follows for system jobs:

1 2 3 4 5 USERNAME /path/to/command arg1 arg2

OR

1 2 3 4 5 USERNAME /path/to/script.sh

Example: Install Backup Job Script

If you wished to have a script named /root/backup.sh run every day at 3am, your crontab entry would look like as follows. First, install your cronjob by running the following command:
# crontab -e
Append the following entry:
0 3 * * * /root/backup.sh
Save and close the file.

More Examples

To run /path/to/command five minutes after midnight, every day, enter:

5 0 * * * /path/to/command

Run /path/to/script.sh at 2:15pm on the first of every month, enter:

15 14 1 * * /path/to/script.sh

Run /scripts/phpscript.php at 10 pm on weekdays, enter:

0 22 * * 1-5 /scripts/phpscript.php

Run /root/scripts/perl/perlscript.pl at 23 minutes after midnight, 2am, 4am …, everyday, enter:

23 0-23/2 * * * /root/scripts/perl/perlscript.pl

Run /path/to/unixcommand at 5 after 4 every Sunday, enter:

5 4 * * sun /path/to/unixcommand

Task: List All Your crontab Jobs

Type the following command :

# crontab -l
# crontab -u username -l

To remove or erase all crontab jobs use the following command:

# crontab -r
crontab -r -u username

 

adapted from cyberciti.biz

Benks Magic HSR on HTC One X





My brother and i both bought the HTC One X about 3 months ago. He recently purchased a Benks Magic HSR SP for me, after my HTC Original SP got scratched badly.

This is the first time i’m using the Benks series of screen protector. I’ve used SGP(Spigen), PowerSupport, Tunewear, PhoneDevil (from US), BodyGuardz and some random cheap SP before this (on the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 5). The HTC One X is my first Android phone. I had the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 prior to his, but sold it after a few months cause the performance was not up to my standard.

Anyway some information about the Benks screen protectors. They come in 4 flavours:

  • AR – Clear surface with Anti-reflection coating
  • SR – Matte surface, anti fingerprint, scratch resistant, anti-fog
  • HR – High transparency and scratch resistant
  • HSR – HD High clarity with anti-fingerprint and scratch resistant

Naturally the HSR is their flagship screen protector.

The level of detail they spent on the packaging of the screen protector pack is fantastic:

  • The screen protector is sealed in the green packaging. The packing is similar to those that holds the wet tissues when we visit a Chinese restaurant.
  • The electrostatic dedusting film, dedusting cleaning film and replacement pulling tags are sealed in the blue packing. (3,4,5)
  • Micro-fibre cloth and a tool to install the camera protector (6)

The tools provided will highly increase the likelihood of a successful installation of the screen protector. For those of us who has experience with installing screen protectors, you will know that the replacement pulling tag and the de-dusting film are essential. You will always get some pesky speck of dust going between the screen and the screen protector. The electostatic dedusting film is excellent for preparing the screen for installation.
Below is a short video that i took on testing the anti fingerprint claim on their HD high clarity screen. So far, i must say it’s pretty good.

The screen protector does not hinder the amazing 4.7″ HD screen on the One X, which providing adequate anti-fingerprint protection. Granted, if you have very greasy hands, there will still be fingerprints. But i’m happy to report that smudges wipes off easily on this screen protector. Also, it covers almost the whole screen, a stark contrast to the provided screen protector from SGP, which only covers the center portion of the screen.

Definitely recommended!
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