Archive for July, 2008

iPhone 3G first impressions

It’s been close to 10 days now with the new iPhone and I wanted to write down my impressions.

The bad:

  • Battery life is terrible. I mean, I understand the usual fanboy tactics of saying that the iPhone 3G still has the best battery life among 3G phones, but who the hell cares? It still sucks, I still have to charge the damn thing at least two times a day.
  • It crashes a lot. I mean a lot lot.
  • No idea why, but deleting emails from a specific IMAP account that I have, completely disables the Mail app against any other account. I have to restart the whole phone to be able to use that app again.
  • Every so often iTunes does a backup of the phone, and it is now taking a LOT of time. I remember it taking around 1 hour for the first time. I believe it takes that long when you install new applications on the phone, but it makes no sense to me to take that much time.
  • The contacts app takes a lot of time to open now. I’m assuming this has to do with a new architecture that allows one to search the database, but damn. 4-5 seconds to load a contact database of 73 contacts? Come on.
  • The App store needs to review new applications / updates to existing apps more quickly.
  • The store should restrict app reviews to users that actually purchased the app.
  • A small thing, but it’s quite common for the phone to stop doing the “unlock” sound. You know, the one that is triggered when you unlock the phone with a sliding motion. The “lock” sound still works, but the “unlock” one doesn’t. I need to restart the machine to make it work again.

The good:

  • The App store is so very cool. Lots of cool apps available, and I’m sure many more will come in the future.
  • Exchange support is very useful. I can finally sync with my work’s email account with ease, without doing a lot of IMAP/procmail hacks.
  • The new “tap at the top of the screen” to scroll to the top of the list of email messages is awesome, something I wanted for a long time.
  • Same feature is now available in the contacts app.
  • Being able to delete multiple messages is also invaluable. I can’t believe how much time I wasted in the past deleting a whole bunch of spam.
  • The sound quality seems much better. The speakers are much better as well.
  • The ability to save images into your photo folders is awesome.

Customizing the message display layout in pine

I’ve been using pine for a long time now — I remember it was the default mail client available at my university‘s computer sciencie department. If I remember correctly, I think it was the first program I ever used in a UNIX system (back in 96?).

In any case, after more than a decade using this program, I just found out that you can customize the display of the message list within a folder. I noticed that the list of messages looked different while browsing the Wikipedia entry for Alpine.

My personal setting now is:


If you go into the configuration section, search for the “index-format” entry (^W index-format), and then hit ? to go to the online help entry, you will get access to all of the documentation available for this. Very cool stuff.

Follow-up on HttpWatch integration with Selenium

Simon Perkins of Simtec Ltd (makers of the HttpWatch plugin for Internet Explorer that I mentioned before) was kind enough to get in touch with me via email about my wishlist for YSlow / HttpWatch / AOL Pagetest.

He wasn’t familiar with Selenium, but said that it might be possible to hook up HttpWatch to retrieve performance data dynamically. He pointed to a blog post describing how to do so with Watir, an automated web testing tool written in Ruby. Simtec even has a tutorial about this on their own web site.

While that does sound interesting, it looks like Watir interfaces with HttpWatch with a COM object on Windows, and that’s how it gets the performance information.

The way to do this integration with Selenium would be to expose a set of JavaScript APIs (maybe the same set of objects available through the COM layer?), so one could write JavaScript code to export the HttpWatch information. That’s really what I would love to see.

If that was available, I could write a simple Selenium RC test suite in PHP, remote control a set of browsers from my Linux box, and get access to this performance data from HttpWatch by simply running some JavaScript function.