Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Apple Mac is amazing...

This has blown me away. You know when you switch from one Windows PC to another (i.e. upgrading), you have to spend about a week re-installing all your apps, setting up all your plug-ins and preferences all over again, hoping you haven't missed a setting?

I just switched from an old Mac mini to a new one (double the RAM and hard disk, faster graphics etc) and restored the user folder from my Time Machine hard disk backup. 98% of my entire working environment (files, folders, icon placement) got put back straight away on the new machine. I was stunned.

But there were a few "?" icons on the dock, where a few of my third party apps were missing (Handbrake, Seashore, Audio Hijack Pro, Cyberduck). So I installed them from the latest versions off the web. And you know what? ALL of their settings, preferences and plug-ins were just 'there', stored in my user folder. There was ZERO work to do on any of them.

Upgrading to a new computer used to be a nightmare for me, once every two years or so. This last Mac to Mac transition has been an utter revelation. Kudos to the OS X engineers.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Fixing the Orange San Francisco Wi-Fi problem?

UPDATE: Gah. 24 hours later and the phone's started going back to its old tricks. Utterly weird how it can be perfect for a day or so and then go back to not re-connecting. Watch this space!

UPDATE 2: OK, I have a reliable workaround. With the setting below, Wi-Fi comes up sometimes. And, for the other times, I've installed "Blade wifi fix" from the Android market, which monitors Wi-fi status after each screen-power-on and restarts Wi-fi as needed, with a small visual notification.

Yes - for me, at any rate, and the fix is trivial and has proved rock solid all day today.

The Orange San Francisco is the best value smartphone in the world, at £99 all-in in the UK, i.e. no contract. Here's my review of it in Phones Show 124:

The sole issue, as mentioned in the review and also referenced here, is that Wi-fi didn't get re-established after a period of disconnection. So the phone goes 'off' or you move away from the house and when you're back in range or powered on again, the Wi-Fi just doesn't reconnect. The workaround was to toggle Wi-Fi off and then on again. A pain.

Thinking about what was happening, i.e. the device needs to go out and LOOK for Wi-fi on its own, I went into Settings/Wireless and networks/Wi-fi settings and turned 'Network notification' ON. This setting is supposed to tell you when an open hotspot is nearby, but I figured that if the device was doing this scanning then it might help it spot the elephant in the room, the home network I wanted it to connect to...

And blow me down if it didn't work. Full reconnections all day.

I'm guessing that Orange had this setting turned on through all their testing. So, ultimately, it's a San Francisco bug, but for me, at least, it's worked a treat and takes all of 5 seconds to do.

By the way, should it be relevant, my router is a Linksys Wireless-G. Though I'm hoping that this will fix Wi-Fi for many people....

Comments welcome if this does or doesn't fix the San Francisco for you!