Android and the OS wars

The Android OS used in Samsung Smart phone technology

No losers as Android competes against two heavyweights

Recently at a software developer’s conference there seemed to be a glut of professionals discussing the downfall of Linux. I found this strange, not because we will always have the great divide, those for all OS and those for Microsoft but because Linux and therefore also Ubuntu and Android are gaining in popularity. Even most servers or more importantly, web hosts, where you aren’t paying an arm and a leg to maintain, are using Linux. Of course Linux is not free, there is never a thing such as a free lunch. Even your Samsung OS has a cost attachment, like the millions of Apps floating around.

The cost effectiveness of Linux or the Google OS is not really a factor, the question therefore should be, just how much does it cost to write an app for Android or user software for Linux server? Is a commercially supported version of Windows a better fit for cell-phone technology? In the real world the total cost of ownership of Linux should be small, supported by a network of programming gurus. But Microsoft has made  the pain less by adding a virtually infinite number of tools to get he job done.  This means higher efficiency and therefore more return on your investment.

Another age old argument is that Linux shares a lot of glory with UNIX. System upgrades have meant that Linux now competes head on with Windows. Is this really an argument? There’s certainly a lot more IT professionals with Windows skills than Linux but the fact remains, in my opinion however, most Linux IT professionals are skilled at Windows as well, not vice versa. At a developer’s conference what would be deemed as factual and what is merely opinion? When your colleague starts arguing about the merits of Windows are they just biased? My own experience has proven this to be the case. Ford Focus or Golf GTi? Mercedes or Audi or BMW? And so it goes on, hence the best new cell phone OS to whip, that Google OS.

No, Android is not free. You will pay for the Apps and you cannot advertise a Google product if it is not licensed.

The Android OS used in Samsung Smart phone technology
Samsung Androids 1, 2 and 3 (wiki commons: Pangkakit)  Android platforms use other non-free firmware, too, and non-free libraries. Aside from those, the source code of Android versions 1 and 2, as released by Google, is free software – but this code is insufficient to run the device. Some of the applications that generally come with Android are non-free, too.

So which OS is THE one to have? did a side by side comparison:

  • Design, look and feel –  iOS, Android
    Apps – iOS, Android, Windows
    Flexibility – Windows, Android, iOS

The results here are really not that surprising. Would the results have been the same in Spain, Portugal, Netherlands or Germany? I have no doubt. I have an iPhone 6. I love it. Colleagues have the Nokia and the Samsung 6, they too love these phones. Samsung released their latest model after the iPhone, this should give a competitive edge. Not so, iPhone users went back to iPhone. Amercan consumers also tend to be pretty brand loyal. Microsoft is new to this but they have the upperhand when it comes to integration with Office.  They have a road-map – Office 365 and Microsoft mobility is an extremely powerful integration and for this reason many users are opting for Microsoft over the other two platforms.  Google is no slouch here either but just how long will it take to catch up. I’m sounding biased here, which I am. To me, there are no winners, each one has their own boasting rights.

  • iPhone and iPads – be creative. Musos love them.
  • Android and Google Apps – so many, where to go?
  • Microsoft Nokia – Integration

Recently I had the privilege of seeing just how popular certain phones were. A programmer (Windows) was demonstrating the power of the Windows Lumia. We started discussing music and out came his iPhone. Possibly he has a Nexus with him as well.

Makes one think doesn’t it?


Probe Batteries

admin 2014-01-05 14:05:41

Company/Business Probe Batteries
Business Type Reseller
Category/Genre Auto – Auto Electrical
Posted By

Core Business Batteries, alternators
Address 1 245 Albert Amon Street
Address 2
Suburb Meadowdale
Town/City Germiston
Region Gauteng
Country Republic of South Africa
Zip/Postal Code 1401
Telephone +27 (0) 11 453 0924

The Complete Power Package

An Associate Company of Ukhamba Holdings

Established in 1963
Main focus was Auto Electrical Services and has now been expanded to batteries, starters, alternators and auto electrical components, automotive safety lighting, engine cooling, LED tail and work lights, CCTV for trucks and earthmoving equipment.

We are Direct Importers, Wholesalers & Distributors of our products, as well as offering an Added Value Support – Repair/ Reman facility, technical sales support and training, as well as assistance with implementation of preventative maintenance programs.

Probe a leader in it’s field with over 50 years experience.
Probe has been appointed distributors and aftermarket support for many international brands – Delco Remy, Prestolite/Leece Neville, C.E. Niehoff, Horton, Kysor and SM Power Battery Chargers.

Exclusive distribution agreements: Tudor Batteries (Brazil), North American Signal Company, Roadvision

Other significant product representations: Million Tape, Cole Hersee, Menbers.
Probe in 2014 – Probe purchased the MED and Aristo brands a prominent electrical automotive brand in South Africa along with all it’s stock and marketing IP which will add great value to overall Probe Product range.

Probe has a national branch network with branches in Main Centres:
Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein,
Mining division has operations in Witbank, Rustenburg, Kuruman, Kimberley and Tete in Mozambique

Hearing damage and high powered sound equipment

Kratz Steam Calliope - hearing

Self infliction hearing loss

Frightening to think that 50 years back 10W per channel for a stereo system was classified as loud in a fairly large room whilst today 100W is merely entry level. The audio enthusiasts, and there are virtually millions of them, are no longer satisfied with just 200W per channel but are building systems in the kilowatt range for their home listening pleasure. Not only that, just how many youngsters are sticking very sensitive ear-plugs or head-phones into fairly powerful phones and iPods? While the mind police are playing around with the banning of cigarette smoking, lead and RoHS, alcohol and mercury tinged water our next generation is quietly killing themselves with music. Yes head room in an amplifier is one thing but head room for your ears is another.

Kratz Steam Calliope - hearing
Kratz Steam Calliope (wiki commons Neochichiri11)

Is it co-incidence that rock stars go deaf at an early age? Wasn’t it Beatle legend George Harrison whom stated his woes from tinnitus came from loud music through headphones. If you want some further information into our favourite rock-star, or any pop-star’s hearing impediments go to the Hearnet website. The problem with auditory loss is that more often than not it is permanent. I sit with this dilemma – two hours of loud music, sirens, explosions and rockfalls watching any movie I get tinnitus. Actually I have it all the time but one gets used to it. Listening to loud music one will realise that it gets softer over time as well. And no, it’s not an AGC or automatic gain control in your eardrums causing this, you are going deaf. Reaching for the syringe to inject water into the ear canal to clear wax buildup no longer works. You learn to lip read, you follow body language and suddenly you realise that this is not something which is just going to go away. It may take a while but the facts remain – it’s here to stay.

When the sound pressure level emanating from a speaker system is on par with that of a real live explosion next to one we realise the horror of modern high powered sound systems. Kids start becoming irritable at the movie house, perhaps even crying, should set warning bells off. If you can hear them. Movies, live concerts and your state of the art sound system is causing permanet hearing loss, not the environmental ‘unfriendly’ sound of cars coming down the street, the construction workers jackhammer or the helicopter overhead. We are doing this to ourselves. And I am one of them.

In the 1970s car audio was designed around that magical power of 4W~5W per channel. Then we bridged two audio outputs to get 20W and in the not very distant future we started building car audio with outputs exceeding 100W per channel. Here we are not looking at headroom, many of these audio amplifiers are run at full power, most of it into big bass bins in the boot or under the seat. It’s become so important to have a high powered system in the car that we now have competitions to boast of the SPL. Kilowatts is not uncommon, forget about 20W. Now just where did bass bins crawls into this winning formula? If the power output is so high that your shirt sleeves can be seen vibrating what is happening to those little bones in your ears?

Just how many music and movie fans have turned up the power of their systems  to appreciate the extra headroom? Most. It may prove to be boasting rights but in all honesty having gobs of power to deliver into the speaker load makes one appreciative of modern designs and technology.  High powered music systems are really a great investment if used properly.  For explosions and other sound effects I wonder.  In a real life situation this is what will make you permanently deaf. Ask any ex-service man. If they can hear you.

Maybe in a few years time we will have a new term to describe being shell-shocked.

(Admin/Moderator: These words are not necessarily our belief although being hearing impaired is certainly no joke. We have long listened to and appreciated musical instruments which are loud without been electronically amplified. This goes back thousands of years. Whether used as warning devices, in a musical concert (think steam driven organs or calliopes), trumpets and saxophones are loud, very loud. The question here may be more around sustained high levels of sound).

Lead-Acid Starting and Deep-Cycle Batteries

Cutaway of a 1953 lead-acid battery

An elementary look at the lead-acid cell

The most common rechargeable or secondary cell used in car batteries is the lead-acid variety.  Even with the curb on hazardous substances, or RoHS, these still remain the most used battery in auto, marine and leisure.  Although so common there remains some disturbing misunderstandings of the common and garden starter and deep-cycle batteries. To keep a lead-acid battery maintained we will stick to the fundamentals, based on their chemical composition:

(+) Lead peroxide, lead dioxide (PbO2), (-) Sponge lead (Pb) and the electrolyte is diluted sulphuric (sulfuric) acid (H2SO4). Battery cells use an electrochemical reaction within the cell to produce electrical energy. The cells inside the battery contain plates which looks very similar to a bee honeycomb or a bunch of tiny square tennis rackets made from either lead calcium or lead antimony.  A good video on the reaction within the lead-acid call battery is shown below.

Your car starter battery is relatively lightweight but can output hundreds of Amperes for a very short period of time. These batteries do not like to be kept in a discharge state as sulphation (sulfation) starts very quickly, causing irreversible damage. This sulphation build up is the result of low specific gravity of the electrolyte, the lead sulphate becoming a stable crystalline over time which is deposited on the negative plate reducing reactive area for future use. I.e. reducing capacity.

Cutaway of a 1953 lead-acid battery
Cutaway view of 1953 automotive battery
Wiki Commons: National Institute of Standards and Technology

All batteries have an A/Hr or Amperage/Hr discharge rate.  In the motor vehicle we are concerned about the cold cranking Amperes (CCA) and with deep cycle, the reserve capacity or RC. A motor car battery should not be discharged below approximately 80% of it’s capacity whilst a deep-cycle battery is designed to go below this. In other words the reserve capacity is much higher.

Car alternators maintain a steady (regulated) voltage and although can charge a flat battery it will not fully charge it. The alternator is designed to feed the car electrics and electronics, mostly designed around 13.8V. Some circuits are designed to push this voltage closer to 16V specifically to fully charge a car battery but these usually come as after market kits.

When maintaining any flooded cell battery, the type with the removable vents or caps, the SG is taken of each cell and if possible the battery voltage and temperature.

Modern car batteries can be of the Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) type and the electrolyte is a gel. They were originally used in aircraft because of the weight (lighter than standard flooded cells) and their resistance to leakage. Like all batteries however they do not like heat and over-charge.  AGM batteries are found in nearly all UPS manufactured today.

To properly maintain a car battery it should be put on a smart charger once every few months. This tops the batteries up and reduces chances of sulphation. So what is the difference between a smart or intelli-charger and the Walmart entry level chargers?

A true smart charger follows these three basic rules:  [1] constant-current  [2] topping [3] float charge. The cheaper variety may be a high current device which will very easily damage the battery if left on overnight or a week. The smart charger can be left on for weeks at a time. The cheaper entry level chargers are even sometimes sold as trickle chargers but the reality is that the battery will never get a true float charge, the current may settle at around 1A which cooks the electrolyte once the battery has reached the typical terminal voltage of 14~14.4V.  Once this critical voltage is reached the charger must switch to a level of a 100mA or slightly higher charge current.  It must not cause the electrolyte to run hot or bubble/exhaust.

Can a deep-cycle battery be used for car starting? Almost definitely. Due to the higher reserve capacity they are more reliable but the A/Hr rating should be increased by a margin of at least 30% to get the correct CCA. They are often used for marine work, hence the name. Ships almost always used deep cycle batteries (lead-acid) or NiFe many years back. Due to the constant maintenance requirement, a legal requirement of course, these batteries lasted many years. These batteries were used to power the emergency radio equipment and a separate bank, for the starting of the emergency generator. Strangely enough, a log book was never a requirement for the emergency generator, only the radio gear.