Thursday, October 1, 2015

The iPhone effect, when two is better than one

When bigger ain't better

Choosing the perfect smartphone is a tough decision, while there will always be that ongoing debate about which operating system should you be using whether it be an Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Tizen, Firefox…the list goes on and on. The software is one part of the equation and the hardware will also play a key role in your choice. Over the years smartphones have evolved into a different kind of device, from the initial thought of combining multiple functions into a communication device into an all-in-one device that fits in our pocket. We are living in the golden age of smartphones with manufacturers constantly pumping out new devices and integrating new features into smartphones to make them…well smarter.

Beyond that, smartphones have also constantly jumped up in size, the perfect example of that is with 8 generations of iPhones which gradually became bigger and bigger over the years. The once humble 3.5-inches I now just a relic of the past and the future is with big screened devices.
Phablet - a mobile device that combines the features of a smartphone and a tablet computer and is larger than a typical smartphone but not as large as a typical small tablet.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

What's next for Samsung?

There's 7 different type of twins and probably the most commonly viewed on is the half-identical twin which basically means that their genes will partly be identical from their mother and the other half will be uniquely different. Why am I talking about genes (or Biology) and what does this have to do about technology. Well, Samsung just unwrapped two new large screened devices namely the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 edge+ which features large 5.7" displays and is categorized under the phablet umbrella.

But as much as how they look is different, they are indeed half-identical twins, their core specifications are very similar but the targeted user base is totally different. The S6 edge+ is aimed towards the mainstream market while the Note5 is targeted at those out there who wants the multitasking prowess of the S Pen. Both the S6 edge+ and Note5 improves on the industrial design introduced with the Galaxy S6 and these devices essentially still feature sandwiched glass on a metal frame.
Samsung's new Galaxy S6 edge+ comes with a big 5.7" curved display — Besides all the hardware and software enhancements, Samsung is also getting ready quite a number of accessories which are uniquely different. Continue reading.
Samsung Galaxy Note5 announced, say goodbye to plastic — The industrial design being showcased on the Note 5 looks a lot like what's implemented on the Galaxy S6 but that's actually a good thing. But Samsung didn't merely enlarge. Continue reading.
With the introduction of these two new phablets, Samsung is rounding up the year with four flagship devices specifically tailored to different kind of users. While it is a debatable whether Samsung needed to release more high end devices, it is clear that the Korean company is no longer harboring the ideas they had last year.

Samsung made a pretty stern statement earlier this year with the introduction of both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge and the recent launch of the Galaxy Note5 merely just reinforces the idea behind the company's new strategy. While the Galaxy S6 didn't manage to rake up record sales, it still managed to convince reviewers that their design team is capable of coming up with sexy looking hardware. So, now that Samsung is making hardware that rivals the iPhone in terms of premium-ness, what is next in the chapter of Samsung's history?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Windows 10 Day 7: Using Microsoft Edge

Took a break from writing articles yesterday and today I am back to continue on this series by talking about the new Microsoft Edge browser that replaces Internet Explorer in Windows 10. But before I go on, I would like to take the time to sincerely apologize if you are unhappy with my previous update article which was quite badly written. I can assure you that I will try not to write such an article again, probably the first and last time you will ever see such a thing on this blog and if you have not read the previous article, don't waste you time on that.

But before starting off today's slight debate about the new Edge browser that comes with Windows 10, here's a little Microsoft updates since the last 48 hours. The first one is that Microsoft has finally released a Windows 10 update that is dated to August 5. You should see the cumulative update (KB3081424) being downloaded onto your computer and you'll be prompted to install it afterwards. No official word as to what is actually included in this 300MB KB update but it's probably just some stability updates.

Another big new from the guys over at Redmond is that they have finally released Office Sway to the public and there's now an official application to help you create that interactive blog post. In case you don't know what Sway is, you should check out my initial impressions on the new office program here. Also, today Microsoft is also officially launching a new site called which allows users to share their Microsoft office documents online as an interactive project.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Windows 10 Day 6: Does Windows 10 suck?

I am badly running out of windows 10 topics to talk about now and It's not everyday that I am sitting 8-10 hours straight in front of the computer to use all the new features. Frankly speaking I have not closely used some of the new features like the Microsoft Edge browser and also the multitasking features. I have not actually sat down and invest some time to integrate all of these new features into my usual workflow.

So, today I will be talking about a very subjective topic that may or may not offend you as the reader depending on your stance against Windows 10 as an operating system. The topic today is about a trending hashtag on twitter that is called #Windows10fail. I actually stumbled upon this twitter hastag through an article published on Mashable and not because it was trending by any standards. The original article mostly talked about the displeasures that some of the 14 million people running Windows 10 are facing.
Windows 10 Day 5: Using Windows store applications - there are some things that I do extremely love about using Windows Store applications and one of them is the live tiles support. There's just something about the animation of data. Contine reading.
The problems range from simple errors when upgrading to the operating itself all the way to the tiny bugs that cause mayhem to the entire experience. I have personally noticed although the combination of features like the return of the Start Menu and a better experience for keyboard and mouse users does give you that bright smile after installing Windows 10 but that honeymoon period does not last long. Take a look at the trend in my previous Windows 10 update articles, the fact that I have a little bit more bad experiences to talk about windows 10 rather than the good one makes me wonder whether upgrading to Windows 10 this early was a good idea. Or maybe I have talked too much about the good things in my full review of the operating system.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Windows 10 Day 5: Using Windows store applications

In the last few days, I was merely talking about the overall experience of Windows 10 and in this week I will begin focusing on core aspects of the operating system that gives it that unique Windows 10 touch. Sure you have the new and improved Start Menu and Microsoft's personal assistant Cortana, living on your desktop but using Windows is all about being productive. And part of that productive workflow is using applications.

I am not going to bore you by talking about the standard Win32 applications like Chrome and Photoshop that we've been using for a long time. Specifically, I will be discussing about Windows Store applications which has been given a pretty solid upgrade in Windows 10. Unlike Windows Store apps that run in Windows 8/8.1, Microsoft has finally given these applications a window of it's own meaning that these applications will no longer take up your full monitor space when it is actively running.
Windows 10 Day 4: Talking to Cortana - Cortana is Microsoft's very own personal assistant and it has been brought over from Windows Phone and she will be heading to both iOS and Android by the years' end. Continue reading.
However, not all applications will have this characteristics as I have noticed that some games in particular (Age of Empires) still run in full screen and there's no option to resize it to my liking.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Windows 10 Day 4: Talking to Cortana

The thing about doing this daily Windows 10 blog entry articles is that I am able to share what I have discovered over the course of a day using Windows 10 to be productive. Often time when I am evaluating something over the course of a week, some important things will be left behind. Microsoft's new operating system has been out for 4 days now and is reportedly now on 67 million computers worldwide and it's time that I went in a little deeper into the operating system. In the upcoming week I will be looking into some of new productivity tools in Windows 10 and try to form a new workflow with the new features like Virtual Desktops and Task View.
Windows 10 review - Formerly called Project Spartan, the new Edge browser looks nothing like IE other than a few similar design cues. It looks somewhat like Firefox with a Windows 10 theme put over it. Continue reading
But to kick off this weekend edition of my Windows 10 blog entry, I think it is time to talk about the ins and outs of Cortana. In case you missed it, Cortana is Microsoft's very own personal assistant and it has been brought over from Windows Phone and she will be heading to both iOS and Android by the years' end. In Windows 10, Cortana lives in the integrated search bar on your taskbar.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Windows 10 Day 3: Using Windows 10 with a touchscreen

The Windows 10 hype isn't that strong today, while there are still quite a number of articles about it being good or bad, the initial hype about the launch is a bit calmer now. While most of us in the tech community has upgraded to Windows 10, some of the not-so tech savvy users have not claimed their upgrade and that should take place during the weekends as the process does take a hit on productive activities. Just remember that if you have not received the notification for your Windows 10 upgrade, you can try this trick to skip the line and get it now. 

Speaking of upgrading to Windows 10, Microsoft has announced today through their official blog that Windows 10 is now on 14 million computers worldwide. That equates to 162 upgrades every second, pretty impressive number. Additionally, Microsoft also highlighted the moments shared by Windows 10 fans on launch day through the #UpgradeYourWorld hashtag. 
Windows 10 Day 2: Configuring the operating systemEverything worked as is and I even managed to print a file on my printer, No errors, the drivers were supported on Windows 10. Continue reading
Alright, on to today's update which is all about the Surface Pro 3. Like I mentioned in Day 1, previously I was only using Windows 10 on an old laptop which is nothing compared to all the new hardware innovations on laptops today. Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 laptop hybrid is one of them as it comes with a high resolution 12" multi touch display. While Microsoft isn't directly marketing Windows 10 as an operating system made for touch devices like they did with Windows 8, the operating system itself has quite a bit of tricks up it's sleeve for laptops with touch displays. 

Windows 10 Day 2: Configuring the operating system

This is day 2 of running Windows 10 on my main computer and while yesterday was all about upgrading to Windows 10 itself as well as talk about some of the shortcomings after updating. Today's experience is better compared to yesterday but there are still some bug here and the with Windows 10. It is not exactly a perfect experience like it was with Windows 8.1 but that what you get for being an early adopter.

Windows 10 Day 1: The actual upgrade - Using Windows 10 on a big monitor is a relatively new experience for me. On the taskbar I can now fit more than 20 applications without splitting into a separate page. Continue reading.

It was a normal day for me and as usual, I was using the computer all day long and for the most part I was doing the usual things like looking through my Twitter stream, reading new articles, watching videos, and also doing a little social blogging on our social media sites. My workflow remained the same but I did started to use some Windows Store apps like Wunderlist and the Mail app.

But that's not all, I was also upgrading the Surface Pro 3 to Windows 10. Surprisingly, I actually have quite a bit to talk about the whole upgrade and initial setup process for the Surface Pro 3.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Windows 10 Day 1: The actual upgrade

After 9 months of trying out everything good and bad about Windows 10 through the Insider program, today (July 29), I will officially start using Windows 10 on my main computer. Previously, I was only using Windows 10 on a occasional basis which mostly happens when there is a brand new feature or there was something I needed to clarify. That Windows 10 experience was based on an old Dell laptop which initially ran Windows Vista and was powered by a Core 2 Duo processor.
Windows 10 Facts - Horizontal scrolling is dead on Windows 10, OneDrive is now a music streaming service and more. Continue reading
Technically speaking, that didn't affect my review of Windows 10, I was evaluating the software experience and not the hardware performance. But nonetheless, Windows 10 ran quite solidly on my old laptop. With that out of the way, now I have the opportunity to actually put Windows 10 through it's paces with real world tasks and for the next week or so, maybe more, depending on my initial findings I will be blogging about my experience of using Windows 10 as my daily driver.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Windows 10 review

Familiar is the name of the game

Windows 10 is designed to be familiar and has been built with what users want — Microsoft has reiterated that they want to get Windows users to genuinely love the product that they are using rather than loving it because it's their only choice. That is a tall order to ask from all 1.5 billion Windows users out there but as ambitious as it sounds, Microsoft might have just struck the right cord with Windows 10.
We aspire to move people from needing Windows to choosing Windows to loving Windows. Satya Nadella
The highlight feature on Windows 10 is the return of the Start Menu which was absent in Windows 8 but that's not the only thing to focus in this new version of Windows. From the minute you boot up into Windows 10, you can start marveling at the changes made. Sure, Microsoft did re-introduce back the Start Menu but through the taskbar, you can start to notice the changes made like the new search bar right next to the Start button and also several new icons on the task bar like the Task View button.

But, has Microsoft broken away from the poor design choices they made with Windows 8 and after nearly a year of public developmental builds through the Windows Insider program, is Microsoft giving what users what they need in Windows 10? The short answer is yes, but it depends.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Remembering the days of the iPod, a lost world

Apple Music is taking over the iPod

Late to the party by two generations but the new lineup of iPods from Apple are finally here and like most products made by the guys over at Cupertino, this new refresh is simple and straight to the point. The three new 2015 iPod models take up the designs from their predecessors and besides some internal swaps, the exterior look and feel of these new iPods are identical to that of the models Apple released back in 2012.

Both the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle merely gained three new color options (gold, pink and blue) and that's about it. The iPod Touch in the other hand also comes in the three new color options but Apple also took the time to retro fit the new iOS device with a new logic board which includes the iPhone 6's A8 processor and M8 motion coprocessor. It's also worth noting that it still has a 4" Retina display and a new 8MP iSight camera.

Think of the new 2015 iPod Touch as a supercharged iPhone 5 without cellular connectivity, yeah Apple's trademark TouchID home button is not on the new iPod Touch. So, the question now is; should you invest your money on Apple's new iPods.

Saying goodbye to Windows 8 and all it's mistakes

Everyone is heading over to Windows 10

Ah, it's that time of the decade again, a new version of Windows is being released and this time around, quite a huge number of people will be upgrading to the latest version of Windows. This is because Microsoft is for the first time providing a free upgrade path for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems to get Windows 10 at no extra charges. Provided that you previously had a genuine copy of Windows. So, with the official arrival of Windows 10, it's time to bid farewell to Windows 8/8.1.

With a mere 13% market share worldwide, Windows 8 is definitely not Microsoft's most successful version but it's not the worst too. The numbers don't lie and not many have taken their time to upgrade to Windows 8 but if you've bought a new computer in the past few years, it would most likely come pre-loaded with it.

" Windows 7 still holds 60% of the market

Technically speaking, Windows users usually don't upgrade to the latest and greatest version because it seems that the core of idea Windows hasn't technically changed (much) moving forward. Just look at the market share Windows XP had, only in recent years that both Windows 7 and Windows 8 overtook the market share of the 13 year old operating system.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bing desktop review, more than just a search engine

Why is there a fish on my desktop

When it comes to the stock desktop on Windows, it's usually just filled with icons depicting folders, app shortcut and files. Sure you could install a custom theme engine to get something artistic up on your desktop or you could also take advantage of the widgets which are only available in Windows 7 and Windows Vista. But moving forward to newer releases of Windows like Windows 8 and Windows 10, the desktop has seemingly become static already and all the rotating information is present only in the start menu/screen.

This should be something fairly new for everyone out there, you're probably somewhat familiar to the search engine called Bing by Microsoft but there's actually a desktop application which enables you to search directly through the desktop.

Personally, I am not so sure when did I even discover this application but for the past few years, it has been seemingly there on my desktop. Just to reiterate things, Bing desktop is an official program from Microsoft which supports systems running Windows XP and above. Microsoft doesn't actually pre-install this application onto Windows PCs nor do they even promote the program whatsoever.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Perfecting that pixel

A subtle change

I have to say, starting this blog has brought me to a lot of places and although i'm actually not used to expressing myself in person but this whole experience in the past three years have taught me a lot about expressing my feelings on the internet that is. My blog(s) might not be the most popular tech related one out there nor does it exceptionally stand out from the crowd but i've learnt not to mind too much about what others think about my work. 

Sharing what i know and think about has been my goal since day one and i'm not going to reiterate the whole story of how this blog came up, you can read it up at the 'about us' page through the tabs on top. Through writing these articles, i am practically brushing up on my grammar skills and tendency to expand the story based on the bullet point facts. 

Nothing that i've said or i'm about to say has to do with technology but it impacts the blog in the coming weeks and months ahead. As i said, when i first started this blog i just knew that i was going to share my knowledge of technology on the internet, i didn't know much about proper blogging ethics like paragraphing my articles and including imagery to express the content (true fact: you can look back at my articles from 2012). But in time, after reading material from other sites, the articles that i've pushed out are more refined now.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Freescale Xtrinsic Sensor Board unboxing and overview

Sensors on a PCB

Just a couple months back, I decided to get the Raspberry Pi 2 and since then I've invested quite some time to learn all about electronics and how code translates into physical activity. By no means am I an expert in either programming nor electronics but I've got to start somewhere. Up until today, I have been trying out simple electronic parts like LEDs, buzzers and some standalone sensors.

Today, I'll be doing a short unboxing and a very shallow overview of Freescale's Xtrinsic Sense Board which supports both the Raspberry Pi and also Freescale's KL25Z Kinetis board. The reason why I chose this board opposed to other popular HATs (Hardware Attached on Top) or Shields (add on boards that interface through the Pi's GPIO pins) is because there is a decent amount of documentation available and not much coverage about it on the internet.
That's a good thing because I won't be relying solely on online tutorials by others to explore the board's capabilities, in simple words, that'll be more hard days of exploring how to program the board.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The easy way to install Windows 10 IoT Core Insider Preview on your Raspberry Pi 2

Windows 10 is set to hit computers on July 29 which means Microsoft has a few weeks before the brand new desktop operating system hits prime time. But that's only for desktop users, other versions of Windows 10 are expected to gain some good speed after Windows 10 for the desktop launches late next month. In the past month, Microsoft has started focusing on Windows 10 builds for phones and the XBOX and now it seems that IoT devices are getting some love.

A new version of the Windows 10 IoT Core Insider Preview is now available for supported devices like the Raspberry Pi 2, MinnowBoard Max and Intel Galileo. The new 6/24 build includes a couple of new features like SSH support, audio output support for the Raspberry Pi 2 and also some bug fixes. Wi-Fi however is still not supported on any of the boards, so it's still up to the good ol' LAN cable.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Google Cardboard convinced me about Virtual Reality

Virtual reality made cheap

Google made a big deal when they announced a slightly modified version of Cardboard during Google I/O this year. Alongside that, they also introduced two pilot program (JUMP and Expeditions) which are designed to bring virtual reality to the masses. With that said, I got myself an unofficial Cardboard VR headset online for about $5 and somehow I started to believe in Virtual Reality.

From the start, I never quite understood why Virtual Reality was the future of computing/gaming. Basically, when it comes to VR, my knowledge of it is that Oculus is the best solution out there and it'll cost around $1500 to get a rig capable to power the pixels inside the headset. Companies like HTC and Samsung has started investing their time into creating VR headsets but my concern towards the platform is still there. I'll explain what I mean about this later on in the article.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The journey so far with Windows 10

We're nearly there!

Today's the day we've been waiting for ever since Microsoft announced the arrival of Windows 10 last October. Joe Belfiore went on Twitter to announce that July 29 will be the launch the date for Windows 10 and to get everyone ready, they're starting to push out reservation popups on compatible devices (Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 PCs). So, how did we get here? How did the name Windows Threshold become Windows 10?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Computex 2015 is no longer just for PC hardware

Give or take but product unveilings are the fun-er part of covering technology and trade shows are on top of everything. They're always filled up with basically anything and on the trade show floor, you can end up finding quite a lot of things. In the midst of all the developers conference from companies during the Summer, we have Computex which is notably the biggest electronics trade show in Asia. At it's 35th cycle this year, Computex is onto a whole new direction.

Like every other company, mobile computing is getting popular and that includes wearables and IoT devices which are meant to be placed just everywhere. That includes Computex which has seen a significant change in direction over the years and it's no longer just a show focused on unveiling new PC hardware but mobile devices like phones and wearables are also beginning to crop up each year.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

What exactly happened during the Google I/O 2015 keynote

Google is betting big on Android

This morning, the main keynote for Google I/O was held and it was full of announcements ranging from new services to hardware that'll create stereoscopic videos. It was quite an intense session and unlike Microsoft's BUILD conference which was literally developer focused for the most part, Google's keynote was quite playful. You would have definitely heard about unlimited storage for photos and GoPro's crazy camera rig but overall, what exactly can we conclude from the nearly 3 hour keynote?

First off, I want to talk about the venue and stage for the keynote. Google thought of this well and the wraparound display across both sides of the hall showed some creativity and the "fun" and cheerful part of the company. Before the keynote actually started, there was an intense game of Pong across the ultra-wide wraparound display across the hall and ultimately the champion turned out to be an asian dude.

To kickstart the keynote this year, Google didn't show an inspiring video about their products but instead the massive display was used to send everyone on a journey in the Milky Way. Ultimately, the light show ended up in planet earth and Sundar Pichai, the man which oversees nearly every product family in Google took the stage to roll out some quick update in Google's network.