Club Admiralty

v7.0 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Club Admiralty Blog

A blog about life in general, in as many languages as I can manage. Ενα ιστολόγιο περι ζωής, πολυγλωσσο - σε όσες γλωσσες εχω μεράκι να γράψω.

Unknown followers

In the last week, I've had many unknown people try to follow me on twitter.

Yes, my twitter feed is protected, so I don't know why people are trying to follow me. It's not like I've had a lot of people @admiralak me, and my club-admiralty analytics (the only other twitter link that comes to mind) doesn't show a ton of activity happening.

I wish twitter would allow people to put a description in the follow box - sort of how one adds a friend on facebook. This way I know how you found me. Most people's blogs don't tell me anything about why they are trying to follow me.
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5 μέρες!

Πέντε ακόμα μέρες μέχρι να δούμε τι μας έχει έτοιμο το MacHeist
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Video Game Fridays: Dr. Mario (GB)


Dr. Mario was one of those games that was bundled (as far as I recollect) with gameboys in Greece sometime in the mid nineties and thus it was one of those games that most people had a lot of time to play and were eager to loan it out in return for some other more exciting game. Thus, I borrowed it from one of my friends to see what the game was about and hopefully be entertained.

Dr. Mario is a puzzle game. In a medicine bottle there are a number of bacteria (different colors) and Dr. Mario throws pills at you. The point of the game is to march the color of the pill with the bacterium in order to eradicate it, and the doctor doesn't make it easy for you (why Dr. Mario, I didn't know you were such a pill pusher!)

People who enjoyed Tetris, and other puzzle games, would enjoy Dr. Mario. It's certainly a good game to play while commuting to and from work. Beyond that, Dr. Mario was nothing special.

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iPod vs. Newton

Continuing my series of reposts of mailings that I find interesting about the future of the newton from the NewtonTalk list, here's one from Carlos Santiago. I've added some comments and personal views in code format

Carlo's Post:
I was prompted by the 2010 timeframe barrier I'd heard about but I made the switch after v2.0 of the system software which had abilities much better in regards to email than the earlier version; at 1.x it most mostly an ipod but the 2.0 software brought it close to a pda but 100% and no where, anywhere close near a Newton.But I then sold off my iPAQ and BT GPS unit as we also gotten a Garmin GPS which made the switchover possible.

It took a while for me to make the switch, mentally, everything important I had on my 2100 and PDA. Key apps there I vitally needed and used.

  • cut-n-paste! poor man's inter-app messaging
  • Newton notes; still no clear replacement
  • Newton calendar; Pocket Informant on the PDA made that platform a good transition but the Newton was the gold standard so it'll be tough to replace
  • Newton inter-app slip messaging; but things are slowly improving within key apps
  • PDA Pocket Informant; a PIM that's coming this month!

I'm not a twenty something wanting a gaming only device (but not that there's anything wrong with that! - these folks in part fueled Apple in recent months and this platform after all) but needed a PDA which approched Newton status. My iPod isn't a Newton but I'm finding less is more in some areas.

What I like:

  • speed; I now juggle 6 email accounts; evan google and yahoo along with work, etc.
  • apps availability; I often buy apps I like hoping support will spur further advances; most feature 'free' subset versions which is vital since all sales are final - and tied to you; you can't resell.
  • web browsing - full screen and fast; however in recent months some sites take to dumming down their site when then see an iPOD; wrong approach; some offer a choice of classic or iPod site view; much better
  • GREAT - f-n-GREAT (so far) app s/w provider support; I think they see the future ahead of most users and are running in droves to the unit; I can only hope some exNewton titles make it here.

I have all of my email accounts (except for my Hotmail account) on my iPod Touch and it's great! On my N800 I don't have everything. The again, I purchased the device for web browsing, not email handling. I only have my mobile me account on the N800 since I can't use the browser to check the mail. Hotmail, yahoo and gmail are all easily accessible on the maemo browser.

What I dis-like

  • small sceen resolution with BIG UI interface controls means display real estate is an absolute premium; most apps either waste space or feature too much whitespace. There are some PDA style apps which try to cram too much info but I think within the next year the UI and developers will come to terms and deliver great apps - my hope anyway.
  • poor apps sometimes crash the unit; recent I took to emailing one developer on their latest update and was totally floored at the response; *GREAT* had a new, fixed, app in a few days. Oh, and this app was *FREE*

I really would like to see some category for gag apps. I don't care that people are making fart or bouncing boob apps, but it really makes it hard to look for good apps when the gag apps are taking up so much space.

And neutral items...

  • it's not a PDA let alone Newton. In the 2.1 s/w release Apple heard first hand that some folks actualy rely on their units for something other than on demand music purchase and play. Given the wider, non-game app availability, I suggested they spend a bit more time in QA; they appear to be.
  • yes there's no stylus; it's up to the app the make the UI transition to gesture based input. it's funny to see HWR attempts etc. on this unit. IMHO those apps just don't get it (aka those don't dogs won't hunt;-) It's hard but you do need to rethink things from scratch.

Would like to see items

  • Newton notes; folders, outlines, todo, style sheets, etc. partridge in a pear tree...
  • universal platform issues; cut-n-paste, messaging, 'back' ability. Each app execution replaces rather than pushes current apps. You can return to the former app after pressing the home button and navigating to it but I'd like to see a 'go back' button or gesture to do this. That would go a long way to addressing inter-app slip passing as app design all feature a fast save state ability you pick up just where you left off.
  • built-in camera
  • speaker (2nd gen unit already has this)
  • dump AT&T in favor of generic provider support; this is part of larger soap box to have all cell phone carriers compete by using a U.S. then world-wide cell phone network topology and technology; we'd then see real competition vs. the fiefdoms we have now.
  • overall h/w improvements; 3rd party storage & batter upgrades - don't try this yourself

Overall I'm happy I made the switch; but miss my 2100.

I agree. I still have my 2100, I don't use it and I miss it. But I am happy to be using an iPod Touch and N800 instead
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Εικονικό Apple 2

Να ένα λινκάκι για ένα εικονικό Apple 2.

Ο εξωμοιοτής τρέχει εντός του browser, οπότε δεν χρειάζεται και πολλά για να τον χρησιμοποιήσεις.

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Redefining the Newton

Well, along with the Y2K10 issues, there's been a lot of discussion about redefining the Newton. I came across this post by Michael, and I have to say I agree with a lof of his comments.

This is very interesting because this is exactly what I have been thinking for a while.I have long thought, the future of the Newton was in becoming a series of enhancements and applications to assist a chosen platform to provide those features which the Newton had (and differentiated it) which no longer seem to exist. (Keep in mind that different users will see this as a different mix of items)

I agree. The features that the Newton had that differentiated it for me (beyond the Apple Geek factor) were the addressbook, calendar, mobile office suite and my multilingual dictionaries. Oh, the large screen too.

In my case, I have recently purchased an iPod Touch to use as my basis for this.

I went with a Nokia Internet Tablet (N800 Model), plus an iPod Touch more recently.

My reasoning for this is pretty simple:1. The iPhone / iPod Touch SDK is FREE!

I don't care about developing, so this isn't a factor for me

2. The Developer community is alive and kicking and considering the size of the user base I have a good chance that something will be developed which may deliver what I am after or that something I develop will be useful for other users and therefore make the development effort pay off.

This is true for both maemo on N800 and the Mobile OS X on the iPod Touch. I have almost more functionality than I had on my Newton!

3. It's from Apple and syncs well with my iTunes Library on my Mac ( and the Address book and iCal and MobileMe).

This was, and is, the most important thing to me. My Media syncs perfectly with my iPod Touch, and all my calendars and contacts are synced. Yes, even the ones in Greek! My major problem with the Newton was the lack of Greek support, even though the OS was fully unicode. Initially this was not a problem since most of my contacts were non-Greek. I could literally count on two hands who my Greek contacts were. With the rise of the internet and social networks I've reconnected with many of my old friends, and it is easier to keep in contact with new ones making Greek support all that much more important.

4. It already had FMTouch which is a 3rd party Filemaker Database Engine so I can take my existing Databases and Sync them to "MyTouch" ( yes I was lame enough to call it that and you can guess my iMac is called) and carry them with me. Something I always wanted for my Newton but never quite had


Now, I am far from 100% satisfied with the platform.I have some minor annoyances with the following:1. Address book:  It doesn't support Custom Fields ( which I'm not sure was a Newton feature out of the box or an extension ) so all my Custom Fields from the Newton were lost

The iTouch does not fully support Greek, so even though I can get my contacts on there, I can't easily get to them! The system is built for latin based alphabets :(
Custom fields don't bother me as much as I don't use them

2. Calendar: Seems to be missing a few things as well. I'm not sure I actually need them but I guess time will tell.

Having used iCal for the last 3 years, whatever is missing, I haven't missed

3. Notes:  This has to be the most useless Notes App ever made! You cannot set the title of the Note it is simply the first line of your Note so I am forever having to put the title there. There is no Landscape Mode. It doesn't support Checklists or allow you to put them in Folders ( or at least Groups like in Address book ) and I cannot seem to Sync them only Email them!

This IS a major annoyance. The Notes app is useless. I used my newton to take many, many notes. In meetings, in the classroom, at work. It was great! My iPod Touch is awful at taking notes. The N800 has a program that is somewhat comparable to the Notes app on the Newton, but it's slow.

There are of course features missing:1. HWR - There is a program called WritePad which gives you HWR via finger which works really well and I would love to work out if they are using Inkwell or a Home-spun HWR Engine; they are producing apps for this as well and their Notes App looks interesting but it is missing Checklists which I feel is a must.

You know, I would love HWR on the iPod Touch, but truth be told, I almost never used it. Initially I used it a lot, and it was great on the Newton. However as I met and recommended with my friends from Greece, I started taking notes in a mixture of Greek, English and something in between. The Newton did not recognize this. In class, I would take notes of words in German and Italian, but the dictionaries would not always recognize the words. The notes app on the newton worked well for monolingual people, but in my case it didn't fit my needs. Ink-notes were more useful.

2. Find - There is no Search feature so I can't simply search on a Clients Name and get a list of all my Visits from the Calendar and the Address book entry which I used quite a lot on the Newton.


3. Copy and Paste - Such a simply feature which could be implemented just like the Newton is missing. But I have yet to have missed it.There is probably a lot more that could be said.

I have missed copy/paste on the iPod Touch, but I always have my N800 to fall back on, so if I need to copy something to/from the web browser into/from another app, I use the N800

At this point I have gotten the touch to the point that for the first time since I owned a Newton it is actually sitting on my desk at home and not being carried to and from work each day. I think the potential is there but it will need some Apps built to provide the "missing" bits. For me, the first step will be the Notes App. I hope to start working on building such an App in the next few months.

One thing that I really miss from the notes app on the Newton, that I wish were implemented on the iPod Touch OS is the different kinds of notes. I want to-do lists (and have the synced with mail/ical). I was graph paper. I want plain paper to draw on. I want shapes and different size marker tips. Yes I can get all those in three separate apps (kinda), but the notes app on the Newton did all this.
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Television Tuesdays: Burn Notice

I could have sworn that I wrote about this before...but just in case I haven't, here's Burn Notice. Burn Notice airs on USA, and it's available for Free on Hulu. The story is about a CIA agent who's essentially given the pink slip (fired, made rendandant, call it what you like), but he does not know why.

If he were just fired, that would be one thing, but all of his assets and bank accounts are frozen, so as the intro says when you've been burned, you've got nothing, no credit, no job history and you're stuck in whatever city they (the CIA) decides to dump you in.

In his quest to figure out who burned him and why, he's got Bruce Campbell and Gabrielle Anwar as sidekicks. Bruce Campbell plays a retired special forces soldier who's got no money (and probably an alcohol problem), and Gabrielle plays a former (current?) trigger-happy girlfriend that was part of the IRA.

It is a pretty interesting series (even though one of the Engadget HD guys doesn't like it).

I think you should have a look.

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Apple Newton: Who killed it?

Along with the Y2K10 bug I saw a lot of people playing the blame game concerning the cancellation of the Newton platform, and thus leaving this Y2K10 time bomb unfixed.

People are quick to blame Steve Jobs because the Newton was not his creation. Valerio Mitritsakis has a great answer to the steve-blame (and I agree with it):

A bit off topic here, still I've had a thought I want to share with  
you. Most people attribute the decision to kill the Newton to a  
revenge of Steve Jobs against Sculley.

However "colorful" (to put it mildly) Steve\s character is (from what  
we read here and there) he is no fool. What I believe happened with  
the Newton was that when Apple faced bankruptcy and called back
Steve Jobs in 1997 as a CEO it needed a few things in order to move on.
1st and foremost to focus on the key areas it was best at which were Creative
Pros (DTP, Design. Prepress) and Education. The next important thing it
needed was a commitment for the development of one of the most
renown application suites, Microsoft Office.

However the deal was something more than that as it included a patent
cross licensing plus some serious cash and more stuff.

This brings us to what I think happened with the Newton. Apple agreed  
with Microsoft to kill the Newton so that they would have the handheld  
marked to them selves.

In the light of saving the company, killing the Newton was a small  
price to pay and kept Apple out of the market for a decade until 2007  
when they introduced the

Of course it is totally possible that all of this exists only in my  
mind as I do not have any connection whatsoever to Apple and I could  
not have any insight on this matter.
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Το ξεκλειδομα του iPhone που λέγετε yellowsn0w το καταλαβαίνω.
Yellowsn0w στα αγγλικά είναι χιόνι στο οποίο έχουν ουρίσει σκυλιά.

Το redsn0w πρώτη φοράτο ακούω...χιόνι βαμένο με αίμα;;;

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Video Game Fridays: Super Mario Land 2 (GB)

Super Mario Land 2 was a departure from a regular mario game for me. I had not played Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES so I was not familiar with the platform/RPGish element that Nintendo already had for the Mario series.

I borrowed this game from one of my friends and I was immersed in the world! This game was frikkin' awesome! I think it's one of the few games that made me space out and really visualize myself in the world.

So what did I like about the game? Well, pretty much everything.
The graphics? - awesome!

The world? - awesome!

The stages? - awesome!

The power-ups? - pretty good!

The music? - well, OK, the music I don't remember!

Wario as a final boss was not too hard, and not too easy. I was actually able to beat him without breaking much sweat.

The on thing that I liked in SML2 over SML was that I could save my progress. One of the major projects with SML was that I needed to play from start to finish, there was no in between! With SML2 I could play, complete a stage, save, and put the game away until another time.

This game was gold!

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