Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First post using TF201 Docking Station

I can't review this because I'm just starting to use this but I can see I'm typing faster than I would on a virtual keyboard.  I attempted to type all the words from racks but I was a little behind and after the thirty repetition of "racks" I decided it was past time to quit.  But what to quit was the question.  A little different then windows but overall this is a slick combo.  The whole package is smaller than a mac book air, and perhaps more powerful than all but the latest generations. 
Overall I haven't hit the touchpad accidentally and although they keyboard has a trackpad I'm finding that I often use the touchpad unless I'm navigating desktop websites or copying text.
This is a really great combination.  I would suggest that Jelly Beans or whatever the next android is should includ support for 2 portrait mode applications running side by side.  The ability to switch between programs by looking at a different part of the screen adds a lot to productivity and is something windows outdoes android with. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fix Transformer Prime GPS by Tethering Phone GPS to Tablet

Lets be clear, the TF201, or asus eeepad transformer prime release was not executed at a high level.  Many early models had wifi issues due to manufacturing issues with the diversity antennas, that seems to be fixed now.  All Primes have a GPS that is inherently ineffective due to poor antenna design.  If yours gets some satellites while standing still that's a win.  It is not effective enough to navigate even on a boat in the ocean with just a canvas top blocking the sky. 

I gave up trying to fix the GPS and was happy that my WIFI worked so well.  When I bought my prime GPS was still listed as a feature, I've been really lucky to have this tablet since the beginning of 2012, and have enjoyed it immensely.  I realized a BT GPS solution was possible after working with some iPad's set up for ocean navigation.  I decided one day to stream the GPS from a phone over BT to the transformer prime, and I couldn't be happier with the results. 

Here's the step by step to setup GPS BT Streaming to a TF201 (although it is applicable to many tablets including an iPad with suitable changes to the instructions). 

1) root the PHONE (not the Tablet)

2) download "Bluetooth GPS" on the prime (or tablet) by googoo android. This will receive the GPS signal over bluetooth. 
3) enable mock locations under developer settings on the prime settings

 4) download a GPS to Bluetooth app on the PHONE.  There are several

4.1) I use "Bluetooth gps" by meowsbox free trial 1.49 full version

 4.2) you will need to grant su privileges to the GPS to Bluetooth app you use

 4.3) some apps work better with certain phones

 5) start GPS and gps streaming utilizing utility from #4 on the phone

 6) pair phone and prime under bluetooth settings, in the settings menu of both tech.

 7) open up Bluetooth GPS on the prime choose the PHONE from the dropdown source menu and click connect

8) you should now be able to utilize GPS as if it were native on the prime

 8.1) you can see feed from bluetooth gps, see sats with GPS test, utilize maps or special nav charts e.g. boats planes etc.

Let me know if I skipped a step or can make this clearer.

Why Retina Displays don't offer across the board improvement, yet.

As I was developing a site yesterday one of my logo images had a 200px constraining but needed sufficient data to display well.  I ramped up the DPI to a "Retina" display density of 260 px/inch.  I then realized that while native system text on these super dense displays will look much better, most web images won't.  Most websites are built to be optimized on equal/less than 1080px wide with a image density of around 96 DPI. 

I haven't conducted a study on the average pixel density across the web but 96 dpi seems to be a good guess as is the default on many professional image editing tools and there has been a push to maximize speed at the expense of density.  While I upped the density data on that specific image for a specific purpose and it looks good on retina displays, I have to think I am one of the few who has executed such retina web image optimizations yet.  Basically, until developers up the densities on their textures you won't see an improvement outside of system textures and text while using "retina" dense displays.

Further proof of this is the need for "special" retina enhanced programs on the app store.  It's cool that there are many already, but out of the gates publishers and developers will have to specifically optimize websites and programs specifically for super high pixel densities that can be displayed by devices like the new iPad, iPhone 4S, HTC Rezound, Galaxy Nexus, and that expanding list.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Why the a5x isn't 4x as fast as the tegra 3

Apple used a benchmark run against a honeycomb equipped transformer prime to get their 4x performance figures. Unfortunately, this is misleading since honeycomb doesn't support gpu acceleration.  So yes the a5 and a5x are that much faster when comparing gpu rendering versus CPU rendering but in real life with ics the a5 and x variants are likely to be similarly performing to a tegra 3. The a5 does not wipe the floor with the t3 and the a5x is pretty much the bare minimum to keep up with the increased requirements of the near retina display of the ipad3.
Check out annads excellent review of the new iPad
We have slightly differing opinions on real world performance of the gpus, I would differ to andrew as he has more numbers and pretty charts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Android market / google play sale today

While I think combining a media store and app store is short sighted Google is going after iTunes and Amazon with a more integrated marketplace that I'm sure is much more invasive in terms of privacy.  To help people play their game Google has slashed prices in their market.

Ipad 3 "" is not the best tablet on the market

Contrary to claims, the iPad 3 is not the best on the market unless you define best by highest resolution and your minimum requirements for rf include lte.  I have some serious misgivings about the amount of ram and lack of dedicated vram.  Your talking a million more pixels than HD essentially running off of a phone processor with the minimum ram necessary.  Basically for its price point apple skimped on features that could rival a PC, which is what I would argue a post PC company should aim for.  People need more than a big phone as these pads will replace computers for many.  The lack of an HDMI port is also a big issue for the same reason.
At this point the tegra 3 is a more advanced processor that will run graphics just as fast as iPad 3 (at 1080p) while running circles around the a5x in power management and CPU performance. If the tegra 3 was paired with 2 gbs of DDR3 I believe the tegra 3 would actually outperform the a5x at similar resolutions. 
Apple ticked off the expected improvements from my last post and will wow the world with a display that's perceptibly as sharp as paper in a beautifully well built shell but android tablet makers are going to introduce more powerful tablets at much lower price points and in many different form factors.  Android and w8 are aggressively attacking the gap between the PC and tablets while it seems apple is attacking the gap between paper and tablets at a premium price point. 
Update, I'd love to have had a retina video camera on the iPad.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Splashtop for tegra 3: personal cloud computing is here

It has been a dream since the early citrix days and I'm sure before to run a terminal with efficient io and offloading the computing tasks.  This same concept makes a lot of sense considering PC's have very little power limits, and mobile devices are quite sensitive to battery resources. However a seamless system was never fully recognized, and still isn't but splashtop thd is a significant step in that direction.  Splashtop thd is much faster than rdc allowing you to view full screen videos seamlessly, since rendering takes place off device you can run dx11.
There are some limits.  Like no full screen apps. There are some bottlenecks I'll try to report on them.