Archive for March 8, 2019

Friday, March 8, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth Car Receiver

Now that I’m using an iPhone XR, I no longer have a headphone jack. I’ve had bad luck with combination charge/audio dongles, and the Qi charger car mounts I’ve seen have been unwieldy. So extended car use will require the Lightning port for charging, meaning that audio must be played wirelessly. Fortunately, I’ve found a much better Bluetooth-to-headphone jack adapter than the Anker SoundSync Drive I had been using. It’s called the iClever Himbox HB01.

The Himbox works in the same way as the SoundSync, just more smoothly. Most importantly, it auto-connects to my phone so that when I press the Play button it’s already ready to go. There’s no variable delay, no need to retry, no question about whether it will actually connect. It’s just transparently ready every time.

This can actually be unexpected or unwanted. For example, if I’m playing audio with my AirPods and get into the car, when I turn on the ignition (which powers on the Himbox) it will steal the Bluetooth connection from my phone. Even with no audio playing, it will proactively switch the phone’s audio output.

I can prevent the Himbox from stealing the connection by unplugging it, but it would be better if it simply had an off switch. The USB connector is tight enough that pulling it one-handed will unplug the entire four-way cigarette lighter adapter, which other devices are using for charging.

There are buttons to Play/Pause and to skip Back and Forward. You can long press the latter two to adjust the volume. It has its own microphone for calls, which is great because this lets me answer calls when the phone is in my pocket. You can also long-press the Play button to initiate Siri. I like this because I’ve not found Hey Siri to be reliable when driving. Unfortuantely, unlike AirPods, the Himbox does not seem to use its own microphone for Siri. At least, it never seems to understand me when the phone is in my pocket.

There’s a bright light that’s always on when paired. This is helpful for finding the button, and it flashes when a call comes in, but it’s just too bright at night, even when I’m not looking directly at it, when my eyes are adjusted to the dark.

I also ran into a problem mounting the Himbox. You’re supposed to stick a metal mounting plate onto the car. The Himbox then attaches to the plate magnetically, so it can easily be removed. However, the adhesive never felt very secure and came unstuck within just a few hours (fortunately leaving no residue). I ended up putting gaffer tape completely over the mounting plate. The magnet is plenty strong enough to work through the tape.

This reads like a list of complaints, but I’m actually very happy with the Himbox. The common case is when I do want it to auto-connect. That works very well. I don’t want to go back to the SoundSync or to manually plugging and unplugging a mini-phone connector.

For some reason, the Himbox is currently unavailable at Amazon, but you can get one at Walmart.

Open Sourcing Windows Calculator

Microsoft:

Today, we’re excited to announce that we are open sourcing Windows Calculator on GitHub under the MIT License. This includes the source code, build system, unit tests, and product roadmap. Our goal is to build an even better user experience in partnership with the community. We are encouraging your fresh perspectives and increased participation to help define the future of Calculator.

[…]

Reviewing the Calculator code is a great way to learn about the latest Microsoft technologies like the Universal Windows Platform, XAML, and Azure Pipelines. Through this project, developers can learn from Microsoft’s full development lifecycle, as well as reuse the code to build their own experiences. It’s also a great example of Fluent app design. To make this even easier, we will be contributing custom controls and API extensions that we use in Calculator and other apps, to projects like the Windows Community Toolkit and the Windows UI Library.

Via Miguel de Icaza:

A jewel hidden inside this release is an MIT licensed infinite precision math library in C++[…]

Previously: iOS Calculator Bug.

Update (2019-03-12): Anis Muslić:

-Be Microsoft
-Release source code of calculator on GitHub
-Paste password into calculator
-Use it as part of telemetry to collect data.