Monthly Archives: July 2013

iOS 7 Beta 3

iOS 7 Beta 3 came out two weeks after Beta 2. It was a welcome upgrade to Beta 2. Apple has continued to improve on iOS 7 and I again I warn people, this is a Beta and is expected to have issues. From Beta 2, the following has improved, or fixed:

  • Contact searches are working! You can search for a contact, edit it, and then search for another contact! Yea!
  • You can not access the first item on your lists! This is helpful on your phone favorites list – now I can call my wife on her cell phone.
  • iMessage is working between beta devices. I could iMessage my wife, but not my daughter, who was running beta 2.
  • Travel time to your next meeting has shown up on the notification screen. I have always seen how long it will take me to get home, but now I am seeing travel time to my next meeting.

Stuff that is still not working:

  • I still can not look at Skype messages. Like before, it crashes when you try to look at messages.

Other issues:

  • I use Line2 to make VoIP calls on my iPhone. When I make a call within Line2, I have lost all my options to mute, hold, keypad, etc., but when I receive a call, I have those options. Very strange. Update: if I place a call, hang up, and call back, I get my phone options. Stranger.
  • Instead of the standard calendar, I use Fantastical. I love the way it lays out my day, and the easy to adding events. In beta 3, I can not open an event. Anytime I click on an event, the app crashes.
  • Answering phone calls is a challenge. When a call comes in and I answer it, I get two calls; one answered and one on hold, though I can not talk to anyone, nor switch the calls. So, for now, I end up calling the person back.

Overall, a much better experience!

Remember, this is a beta, use at your own risk!

Perl versus Python

I love to program and have switched programming languages many times over the years. I mainly program in scripting languages these days as most of the programs that I want to do start out simply processing some data and then grow. I am always in amazement how long my programs are still running.

Anyway. I have done a lot of Perl programming, but for the past few years, I switched to Python. I find Python a much cleaner language with a better integrated object oriented space over Perl.

And, until recently, I was very happy with Python. I was recently running a multi-threaded program and wondering why it would not take advantage of all my cores on my i7 Macbook Pro. After doing some research, I found out that the issue was with Python’s Global Interpreter Lock (GIL). There are a lot of discussions on the GIL, but the bottom line is that Python is not able to take advantage of all your cores if you are doing a multi-threaded program.

So, what did I do? I wrote two similar programs; one in Python and one in Perl. These programs just spawned multiple threads and did some multiplication in a very large loop and it was very interesting what I found out. With one thread, Perl was about 8 seconds and Python was about 9 seconds. With two threads, Perl was still about 8 seconds and Python was about 30 seconds. For seven threads (one less than the number of cores on my system), Perl was about 11 seconds. It took about 20 threads in Perl to get to 30 seconds.

I am not sure what I will be writing my next program in, but it will clearly depend upon what I need the program to do.

iOS 7 Beta 2

I have been using the latest software from Apple for my iPhone – iOS 7. I started using it with beta 1 and beta 2 has been out for a few weeks now. Yes, it is early to use, it crashes, but I do love the changes that Apple is making in the software. The look and feel is fresh. There are a lot of little things that I love, like:

  • The new control screen. I can easily turn on and off things like Bluetooth, Wifi, and Airplane mode with one swipe up and click.
  • The updates to the notifications screen. The new main screen shows the weather, your next appointment, and the traffic to get to the next appointment and the rest of your calendar for the day.
  • The app switcher. I love the full view of the running app and swipe to kill and that you can get to the app switcher in landscape mode! Very cool.
  • The look and feel of the Apple apps are much cleaner. I like the new calendar, but still like Fantastical better.
  • The 3D look. When you tilt the phone, the icons appear to be floating over the wall paper.

Does everything work? Of course not. Here are some of the things that do not work for me and I only list them as a warning to people upgrading. I am sure they will be fixed in later versions, or updates to the apps.

  • Contact searches. Yes, they work, but after you search for a contact, you can not do anything else until you kill the contacts and go back in. This happens when you use the phone and search for a contact as well.
  • Problems with the first item on the list. Sometimes, there is no way to select the first item on a list, like in your phone favorites. The first item is below the title. This is fun when I am trying to call home from my phone (my first favorite).
  • Skype messages. Skype calls work, but do not look at your chat messages because the app crashes every time.
  • LastPass with Google Authenticator. There is no way to enter your Google Authenticator value when you log into LastPass. This is painful right now, because when I need to enter a password for an app, I need to go to another computer and then type in my complex passwords.

I am sure there are other problems, but nothing that I can pin down right now. Yes, it does randomly crash, like yesterday while on the phone, it crashed, I missed a bit of my call, but everything came back after a few seconds – even the call!

I am looking forward to the improvements that Apple will continue to make with the software!