Friday, August 19, 2016

Samsung Galaxy Note7 - First look

Switching galaxies

Samsung's new Galaxy Note7 is now available in 10 countries and the availability for several other regions have been pushed back due an apparent "high demand" for the Note7. Thankfully, I pre-ordered one several weeks back and I received my unit in the mail yesterday and since then I have been playing around with it quite extensively.

This article will serve as my experience of using the Note7 from 100% down to just 15%. And as you can see in the picture above, at about 3pm this afternoon, my battery has already gone down to 15%. Essentially, I managed to get about 4 hours of screen on time which is pretty decent. The standby time last night in the other was pretty good as the Note7 only lost 4% of battery. Charging in the other hand was quick and I like that Samsung provided a USB-C to microUSB adapter in the box

Moving on to my actual experience of using the phone, for the most part I got used to the Note7 pretty quickly. Mind you that for the last two years, I have been using small phones and going back to to a phone with a 5.7-inch display did feel a little daunting at first. The biggest (personal) problem that I am facing is to type with one hand and getting used to Samsung's back key that is located on the right side of the device.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Olympic Comeback

The Summer Olympics come once every 4 years and in the tech world, 4 years is a long...long time. That's because technological innovation is always moving at a fast pace and slowing down is not an option. In the case of this year's Rio Olympics which have officially started last Friday, a lot of things have changed since the last Summer Olympics was held in London.

Back when that happened in 2012, our site just started off as a new tech blog and my experience with mobile technology has just begun. Today's article will serve as a review of what are the big things that have been happening in the last 4 years and how the technology industry has changed.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

dbrand concrete skin review

A couple weeks back, dbrand unleashed their new skin designed to make your device look like concrete. Initially, I wasn't sold on the idea of the concrete skin because it kinda looked plain, but after seeing a few images of it on twitter, I was somewhat convinced that a concrete skin might just be what I need. The addition of a store-wide 30% discount made the purchase decision easier and after three weeks of patiently waiting, the concrete skin from dbrand finally arrived on my doorstep
Skinning the Surface Pro 4"If I were to score the installation on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the easiest. I would give it a 8/10 because the video instruction is pretty useful. It is also nice to know that the 3M paper dbrand is using can be easily removed without leaving any sticky spots behind." Continue reading.
Compared to my previous experience with the dbrand bamboo skin which took about a week and a half to arrive, the fulfilment this time around was truly slow. At some point, I thought that dbrand actually forgot my order because I was checking out twitter and a lot of people were boasting their new concrete skins. I had to contact dbrand through email twice to put my mind to ease. 

The skin did eventually arrive but it comes at a time where I have lost my initial enthusiasm towards the concrete skin. I didn't feel the same excitement unwrapping the mailing envelope that contained my first dbrand skin. So, the question I will be answering today is whether the concrete skin is a solid deal or not?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Experiencing Amazon's A+ customer service

Online shopping is convenient when things work your way but occasionally, slip ups do happen. This is the second time that I have had problems with my online order. The first time was when I bought the Surface Pro 4 through Lazada which is the largest online store in Southeast Asia. You can read all about my experience from that here. My story today revolves around the late delivery of my Amazon Prime order.

Contacting customer service has never been a good experience for me, mostly because talking to these company representatives are often a cumbersome experience because I always end the call with no useful information. To be honest, when I decided to call Amazon's customer service, I was expecting it to be a good experience since they are the parent company of Zappos which is an online shoe store based in America that is well known for their top notch customer service.

After contacting them, I can tell you that this is by far the best customer service I have come across.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Trying Android Pay for the first time

One tap away

Mobile payments is the next evolution when it comes to cashless payments and the market which initially started off with Google Wallet has now turned into a thriving industry. The big push for mobile payments in the recent years is because we are now at a point where mobile payments are actually a feasible option for just about anyone.
Mastercard shows off their new logo for the 21st century — "Most notably is that the "mastercard" font looks subtle and is now lowercase. The font itself is called FF Mark and as you can see in the renders below, the new font blends in with modern day devices." Continue reading.
Smartphones are everywhere and secure elements like an encrypted operating system alongside fingerprint sensors are now widely available on mobile devices. While not everyone is using their smartphones to complete their purchase, there is a need for the mobile payment market because it simplifies the buying experience. With the help of companies like Apple and Samsung, it won't be long before more banks and merchants begin accepting payments from your smartphone.

Right now, all major smartphones have some form of mobile payment service. iPhones have Apple Pay, Galaxy phones have Samsung Pay, Android phones have Android Pay and Windows 10 Mobile phones have Microsoft Wallet. For today, I will be focusing on Android Pay with a little case study on my experience of using it at McDonald's.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Logitech T400 review - the best ambidextrous wireless mouse

Three years late

Three years ago, I bought the Logitech T400 mouse when it was on sale. The mouse also called the Logitech Zone Touch mouse was designed for Windows 8 with customizable gestures that can be configured through Logitech's software. Ever since then, I fell in love with this mouse and I loved it so much that I bought a second one to replace it when the original one got lost.

I don't think Logitech still manufactures this mouse but in my opinion, this is one of the best mouse for my needs. You might be thinking why am I not using the ever popular MX Master by Logitech? Well, a little known fact about me is that I am a left hander and naturally, I use my mouse with my left hand. In the past, I did try using my right hand with the mouse but it didn't seem to work out.

After using the same mouse for about three years, here is my review of the Logitech T400.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Snapchat's intervention in the future of mobile advertising

What ghost?

Yesterday, Google unveiled what would be the next version of Android which was previously only known as Android N (and also Namey McNameface). Android Nougat is the name of the next big Android release that is slated to be released in the coming weeks. But, that's not what this article is about. It's about Snapchat and how it's changing how mobile advertising is done.


What does Snapchat have to do with the next Android release? Well, this time around, Google did things differently and took the opportunity to unveil Android Nougat through their Snapchat account. A first for Google as far as I know. The news about Android Nougat soon spread out but this is just one of the Snapchat exclusives.

In my opinion Google announced Android Nougat through Snapchat mainly because they wanted to use this opportunity to gain more followers. This is not the first time that Snapchat had an exclusive dibs on a new product. Last year, Burberry showed off their new fashion lineup 24 hours before it hit the runway.

So, it's time to talk about Snapchat.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Microsoft finally unified their login screen

Towards the end of 2012, Microsoft revealed that MSN will be merged into Skype. And like a lot of people, I had an MSN messenger account, it was all the craze back then and it was very much the Facebook of that time. As nostalgic as it sounds, it has been three years since MSN messenger was retired but only up to recently has Microsoft solved one of the biggest gripes that I have had with the merging of MSN into Skype.

One of the issues I had with the merge is that it screwed up my Skype (and Hotmail) contact list as there were duplicates everywhere and people who didn't yet moved to Skype had a greyed out icon. I have yet to find the time to sort out my contacts but today I will be talking about something that Microsoft has fixed. It has been a long way but Microsoft has finally fixed their login screen. Well, you might be asking. Is Microsoft's login screen even broken?

To a certain extent yes, but my definition of broken here isn't implying that the login screen is not working. I am referring to the functionality of it. Prior to this, Microsoft's login screen came in all forms which made the experience inconsistent. Given that Microsoft services now span a wide range of devices, this new login screen is as key part of the experience. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Is there home for an app store on the desktop?

Do you have a million apps?

Google recently hit a major milestone with their Play Store by hitting 2 million published applications and Apple also announced during WWDC that the App Store has also reached 2 million apps. Despite reaching that number, Google and Apple didn't make much out of it compared to when they hit 1 million applications. My story today has something to do with applications and the windows store. This is not another one of my debates about defending the app gap, it's about something else.

A while back when I was revising my position for the Surface Pro 4 review, I was considering to do a follow up review about using the device as a tablet. But eventually, I decided to scrape the idea mainly because I couldn't find much to talk about using Windows 10 as a tablet without inserting too much of 'filler topics'. During my Surface Pro 4 review, I did talk a little bit about using it as a tablet but I didn't actually explain why I rarely use the Surface as a tablet.

Which leads me to today's discussion about applications on an app store on a desktop computer (or laptop). Currently, I have quite a number of Windows Store applications installed on my Surface Pro 4 but I rarely open them and I think I know why.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Four takeways from Apple's WWDC 2016 keynote

new software

For once, Apple is didn't talk about the big numbers like the adoption rate of iOS or how mac is compared to the competition, they only talked about the App Store hitting 2 million application and that's it.

This year's WWDC keynote ended up being a little dry because Apple didn't show any new hardware at all. That was well expected because previous reports have indicated that Apple has chosen to do so. No new MacBooks and no new Apple Watches, it's just a lot of new software. But even without the hardware, the keynote itself wasn’t overly boring. It was in the middle in terms of Apple keynotes and I was actually quite impressed with some of the things that they showed off in upcoming versions of Apple software. 
You could easily argue that most of the things that Apple announced were merely just things that competitors have already done in the past. But, this is Apple after all and the features that they (allegedly) borrowed over from others companies did transition into a better product overall. As always, Apple made things look extra special with their presentation style and some of the new features are actually cool.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Apple's favourite country has got to be China

Apple keynotes usually focus on things in the United States with subtle hints of other countries from time to time but during the WWDC 2016 keynote this morning, Apple made a big statement. China is an important market to Apple and they are embracing their presence. It seems that last year's first-wave launch of the iPhone 6S in China was just the start. 

At this point, is not secret that Apple has a thing for China. They have more Apple Stores in China than any other region outside the US. Not only that, Chinese people also love the iPhone hence there are so many Chinese phones out there that try to mimic the look of iOS. But my point here is that Apple has never done such a thing before and this keynote makes is clear that Apple is ready to take on the Chinese market with full force. 
The Apple Store experience in China and Hong Kong"there's something pretty marvelous about the Shenzhen Apple Store in particular compared to the other three Apple Stores in Hong Kong and that is there are actually a couple of table and chairs outside the store themselves and the free Wi-Fi actually works from those seats." Continue reading.
During the keynote Apple VPs like Craig not only mentioned the word China a couple dozen times but they also added quite a number of things that viewers in China might be interested in. Things like mentioning that Siri is integrated with WeChat (which is the primary messaging app in China), randomly sliding in popular location app in China called Dianping, quoting Alipay (the main mobile payment service in China) support with Apple Pay or even mentioning Dim Sum.

Monday, May 30, 2016

ASUS made a better copy of Apple and Microsoft products

Copy cats

Taiwanese PC maker ASUS made a big statement during their Computex 2016 press conference in Taipei yesterday. They introduced a whole slew of computing products in all forms and sizes and honestly, I don't quite remember a company cramming in so much of new products during a launch event. Combining their Zenvolution and ROG event, the company unleashed more than a dozen new products.

While the smartphone trend has definitely affected trade shows like Computex which has previously been heavy on computer hardware, ASUS did manage to show off a number of PCs alongside their new ZenFone 3 series which is definitely the focus of the press conference as they spent the bulk of the time to explain the new features gracing their new smartphone lineup.

The overall trend with ASUS's biggest unveiling of the year seems to be catching up with the competition but they did also show off some cool innovations like Zenbo and their pure metal technology that makes metal smartphones look better by removing the weird looking antenna lines. And that brings me to the point of this article. Why hasn't Apple done the same thing.

I know it's a little premature to criticise Apple on this as the iPhone 7 is still not official yet but as leaks have shown, it looks like Apple still plans to keep the antenna lines on the next generation iPhone and as history has shown, Apple will recycle their new iPhone designs every other year. So, we might need to wait another two years before seeing an iPhone without antenna lines.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Review: Nearly perfect

Should you buy a laptop or a tablet? That question still remains to be answered. Apple in particular is betting that tablets (iPad Pro) is the solution for the future. But in the Windows camp, Microsoft and it's partners are going multiple ways. The most popular and versatile option being the 2-in-1 form factor which is able to be both a tablet and a regular laptop. Microsoft's Surface Pro lineup has come a long way. Being refined each and every part of the way, the Surface Pro 4 is nearly a perfect machine for being a tablet and also a laptop for day to day use.

In terms of the hardware, Microsoft has got it spot on but the software in the other hand is not as perfect as the Surface Pro 3 when it first came out to the market. I will be taking this review from a basis of a computer rather than a tablet, because honestly, I rarely used it as a tablet because Windows 10 just isn't made for touch.
My experience in buying the Surface Pro 4 in Malaysia — "I waited for a few days and out of the blue, an email from Lazada came up saying that my order has been cancelled and that a refund towards my payment will be made in the next two days. This made me very even furious compared to what I was facing when they told me to wait for two weeks" Continue reading.
Before jumping into the nitty gritty stuff, I have to talk about buying this Surface Pro 4 itself. It's no secret that Microsoft was having some serious yield issues in the start mainly due to Intel not having enough Skylake processors for production. But that was Microsoft's side of the problem, my side of the problem has to do with a combination of hardware and logistical issues.

Long story short, the unit that I am using right now is the second Surface Pro 4 model because the first one I got had a dead left speaker and the online store I ordered mine took 3 weeks to tell me they were out of stock. You can read more about that story here.

My doubts about the Smart Home

The perfect world of Google Home


This year at I/O, Google looked into the future with lots of bright ideas that implement various Google technologies. There were some cool things like the new Google Assistant or the new Android Instant apps, but what caught my attention most is Google Home. The big reason why I feel so excited about it is because I just reviewed the Chromecast earlier this week and the Google Home speaker feels like the extension of that.

Just like what the Nexus Q could've been, Google Home Is the central hub for Google's vision for the smart home. People are calling the Google Home as the true competitor of Amazon's Echo speaker first introduced last year and even Google made it clear about where they got the inspiration to build a talking speaker.

Right now, concrete information about the technical specification and actual functionality that the Google Home is capable of is still scarce. But there is a video that Google played during the announcement to introduce the product to the crowd of developers at Google I/O. That video made me real excited and also doubtful about the validity of the product.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Google Chromecast (2015) Review

Google's original Chromecast launched in 2013 and since then, the hardware product evolved into and ecosystem with the rebranding of the Chromecast app into Google Cast. That shift in focus was due to the introduction of the 2nd generation Chromecast last year which introduced a new puck like design and also a second model dedicated to streaming audio.

In case you are unfamiliar with Google's Chromecast technology, it is a pretty simple concept. With the $35 Chromecast dongle, any television will automatically turn into a smart TV with the help of the Google Cast application on your Android or iOS device. The idea is pretty ingenious and frankly speaking, the process of streaming videos from your smartphone to a television is so simple and flawless.

So, here's my review of the 2nd generation Google Chromecast (2015)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Skinning the Surface Pro 4

The most precise fit on earth. That is the tagline of Canadian skin maker dbrand. If you have watched tech YouTube videos in the last couple of years, chances are you have probably heard about dbrand skins or other skin brands like Slick Wraps. I know I have, for years I have been watching those product placements with those skins outfitted on the devices and I won't say that I never wanted those cool looking skins, I just never felt that it was a compelling buy. But I have never felt the urge to do so until March 2016. Just so happens, the week before, dbrand announced skins for the Surface Pro 4 and I was deciding whether to get it or not.

Turns out, that extra waiting time got me a 30% discount as the company was holding a storewide discount on all skins to celebrate the comeback of their bamboo skins. At that point, it was pretty much an impulse decision to place an order for the Surface Pro 4 skin. So, after using the skin on my Surface Pro 4 for about a month now, does it live up to the claims on their website? Well, let's find out shall we.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Overatting the color gold

50 shades of gold


Smartphone trends are (almost unpredictable) shifting from one concept to another. Take the original iPhone for example, Steve Jobs was a heavy advocate for one-handed usability and it turns out that you could also fit 4-inches into one hand (that's why we have the iPhone SE). While the original trend is about smaller phones, it is apparent that small phones are no longer the next big thing as everybody is on the ship of the idea behind big phones. Don't be confused, this article is not another rant regarding bigger phones. It is all about the color of gold (specifically) on smartphones.
The Mobile World Congress Battle — "the first wave of flagships this year look impressive enough for an upgrade over it's predecessor but none of them justify any groundbreaking innovations. Maybe LG's dual camera system and magic slot expansion can be counted as groundbreaking but I personally think It will end up just being a cool little gimmick to increase sales." Continue reading. 
Apple made quite a statement last year when they announced the Rose Gold color option for it's new iPhone (the 6S) and now we basically have the Rose Gold color treatment on most of the new Apple devices that have come out. As usual, companies are following the footsteps of what Apple is doing and the inspiration for this article comes from the Huawei P9 series launched earlier this week which not only comes with the Leica branding on the back but the device is unique in the sense that is came with an unmistakable choice of colors. Three shades of gold to be exact. One is more different from the other.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Apple's new 4-inch iPhone is not a big deal

Is going small really going big?

Earlier this week, Apple showed of a new iPhone and this should not to be mistaken for the iPhone 7, we will probably only see that towards the end of the year. This new iPhone announced during Apple's first launch of 2016 is the spiritual successor to the iPhone 5S. With just a measly 4-inch display, you should not belittle this small iPhone as it packs the same punch as an iPhone 6S. Apple managed to engineer their flagship A9 SoC into the new iPhone SE which provides this small phone the power to shoot 4K video and also enough horsepower to get blazingly high scores on AnTuTu.
What Apple experts say about the 12.9-inch iPad Pro — " The problem with the iPad is that you only need one iPad because you can get the same app experience on both the mini and the Air, the only difference is the screen size. But that might very well change with the iPad Pro, it is still indefinitely just a bigger iPad " Continue reading.
But is that what the industry needs, Apple seems to be convinced that there is a request for such a small device in today's world. Tim Cook is saying that up to 60% of people are asking (and begging) for a 4-inch iPhone and the iPhone SE is the answer. Just remember that Apple notoriously made small phones for a couple of years when the rest of the industry went over to bigger screens. For years, Apple's iPhone model is to basically downgrade the previous flagship in terms of pricing and provide the lineup with multiple price tiers. With the iPhone SE, Apple is making it the most affordable iPhone option that starts at just $399 for the 16GB model.

But the question is why would you want to buy the iPhone SE, 4-inches is real small. And no, the SE on iPhone SE does not stand for 'stupid edition'


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Is Windows Phone 7 happening all over again

Déjà vu

It's over for Microsoft, I have somewhat lost faith on the company with this week's announcement mainly because it has happened all over me. Earlier this week, Microsoft (finally) announced the official Windows 10 Mobile upgrade for existing Windows Phone devices. Alongside that announcement is a list of devices that are able to upgrade to the brand new software. That sounds pretty reasonable and all but when Windows 10 Mobile was initially announced last year, Microsoft promised that all Lumia devices running WP8.1 will be promised a brand new software experience. But after multiple delays in releasing this update and several problems along the way in terms of bugs and performance, Microsoft has just pulled the life plug out of nearly half  of the Windows Phone devices currently in the market


If you look at the list of fully supported Windows 10 Mobile devices that Microsoft is touting, devices only include a couple of mid-high end Nokia branded phones released after 2014 and to no surprise, all Microsoft branded Windows Phone devices will be getting the Windows 10 Mobile update right from the first Lumia 535 all the way to the Lumia 435. While my beloved Lumia 630 and Lumia 1020 will not be getting the official Windows 10 Mobile update, I am not particularly bummed out of this but I do feel what Windows Phone 7 users felt when Nokia said that Windows Phone 8 will not be coming to any existing devices like the Lumia 900 or Lumia 610.

Windows Phone right now is in a deadly state if you think that market performance is based on the percentage that OS fills up compared to others, Windows Phone is basically a dead platform. With a mere 1.7% market share as of today, that number is not likely to improve as Windows Phone sales are not going up and the fact that iPhone and Android phone sales are continuing to go off the roof with the release of a brand new phone every year.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Mobile World Congress Battle

Battle royale

At this point, it feels like the same old battle is going to happen once again. Samsung is poised to come up on top of their game and LG is going to gain some ground but not significantly and Sony is once again playing the curve ball again with their new smartphone. Mobile World Congress 2016 saw the debut of several key flagship smartphone that will determine what goes on this year and probably the most surprising one is from Xiaomi which is a first for them to have a big launch outside of China (and also India). Their new Xiaomi Mi 5 was announced on a global stage but you'll be forgiven if you're still yearning to get the rock bottom china prices outside of Asia.

Once again this year, it looks like there will be a pretty clear winner as to who will top the market and Samsung is poised to top the market with their new Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy S7. I am not trying to be a Samsung fanboy here but in my opinion, Samsung does have the edge (no pun intended) to triumph over the LG G5 due to Samsung's massive market reach in various countries. Like take for example Malaysia, LG doesn't always launch their phones in a timely matter in the region but Samsung is (always) most certainly launching their flagship in our market. But, the technology industry is not that predictable and LG might (by a small chance) have better sales performance compared to Samsung.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Apple's encryption war with the FBI

The past week has mostly been about the inevitable leaks of Samsung and LG's upcoming flagship devices which looks to be a tight battle between the two Android giants. But in the more general (non-tech) debate that has come up over the week is that Tim Cook, Apple CEO publically announces that they are vetoing the federal magistrate's order to assist the FBI in de-crypting the data on Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone 5C. Farook was one of the terrorists involved in the San Bernardino shooters which killed 14 people and seriously injure 22 people in last December.

The San Bernardino attack is believed to be the worst terrorist attack to occur in America since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. And this is why the FBI is persistent in finding the motive behind the attack in California. Now this is where the debate with Apple comes up, the two terrorists involved in the shooting was killed during pursuit and one of the current leads as to motive behind the attacks now lies in an iPhone 5C which has a passcode on it.
My thoughts on the iPhone 5C, do users really want a colorful iPhone ?"the iPhone 5C Is Apple’s iPhone aimed towards users which don’t have too much money to fork out for an iPhone. The device comes in 5 colors and is not exactly that colorful like what the rumors stated. The iPhone 5C is powered by hardware which is about 1 year old now or if you put it in a better sounding way it works like an iPhone 5 but doesn’t look like one." Continue reading.
Apple has been a great advocate of security (and encryption) since the early days and Tim Cook says that this incident is no exception for Apple to do away from their beliefs that customers should have the right to know that their data is secure. The FBI says that Apple's rejection to the court's order is causing a stalling the entire investigation. Prior to this event, the FBI has always tried to persuade American tech companies to provide the bureau with a "backdoor" that allows them to access data from a service/device. But companies argued that if such a encryption key is given out to the FBI, that would essentially get rid of the idea behind securing data that is inaccessible to anyone but the owner.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Four years and counting!

It is that time of the year again, this site which started off as The Technology of Today in 2012 is now 4 years old. I know I say this nearly every single year but this feels just like yesterday that I started blogging all about the tech news every afternoon during high school. The times sure have passed real quick and the site in my opinion is going at a steady pace in the last year. Not as quick of a pace as we had during the first year but I am pretty content with the progress of articles in the last year.

Compared to 2014, I managed to crunch up 46 articles last year which doubles the 25 I did in 2014. The number sure is insignificant compared to what we had in the year 2012 (nearly 1,000 articles published). This year in particular, I am looking to double that number by chugging out more content to this site each week. Last year, I tried out a weekly segment dubbed the 'Weekend Review' and that worked pretty well with my schedule. Also, if you have noticed, towards the end of last year, I was trying out a new schedule which had me posting two articles every week. That is what I am trying to implement this year and I will try my best to keep my schedule open to do just that.

This site is still exclusive to the feature and review articles and if you want to read tech news from us, head on over to our Malaysia site where I do post news articles there. I have no plans to reintroduce news articles on this site for the time being but through the feature/review articles on this site, I will backlink the relevant news articles back to our Malaysia site. In terms of articles, I realized that I have been talking a lot lot about Microsoft products in the last year, I will try to tone down on that and talk more about other tech products. Maybe go a little in-depth into the science of curved OLED TVs or just debating about whether Intel taking away overclocking on non-k CPUs is a bad thing or not.

Highlights of 2015 

  • What's next for Samsung: In this article, I talked about what the future holds for Samsung as the competition is getting stronger. Read about that here
  • Windows 10 Review: The biggest software release every by Microsoft and I explain most of the good and bad about Microsoft's new desktop operating system. Read the full review here
  • Microsoft Lumia turns blue, what happened to purple: This is still a little bit of an odd ball as it is not clear why Microsoft is opting for blue instead or purple. Read the full story here
  • Oaxis Star.21 Review: Forming a new habit in three weeks: Finally got the chance to do this review after delaying it for a long long time. Read about the fitness band here
  • Setting up the Raspberry Pi 2 for the first time: This marks a new journey for me into the Internet of Things, there is potential for more Raspberry Pi content in the future. Check out my first impressions of the $35 board here

As for changes to me myself in 2016, I have moved west to America from Malaysia and expect to see some articles dedicated to the technology life in America. I've already concluded an introductory article about Ting last weekend and maybe I'll do something like BestBuy store review or something in the lines of that.

Anyway, here is to the next year of tech blogging. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

My transition from T-Mobile to Ting

Do you even ting? 

Smartphones these days have advanced so quickly and manufacturers are constantly swapping out expansion possibilities and maybe even the headphone jack in the case of the next generation iPhone but one thing still remains, the SIM card is still something that you need to make call, get data, send text messages and also to receive voicemails. SIM cards themselves have evolved quite significantly in the last few years with the card becoming smaller to fit the needs of ultra slim and compact smartphones of this generation.

But one thing has not changed, wireless carries (or telcos if you prefer that) are still charging users a premium for data, messaging and calls. Particularly in America, both T-Mobile and AT&T are among the popular options for those coming by the US for a holiday or for a short period of time just because they support GSM devices. I find it quite silly that the most cheapest prepaid plan from either AT&T and T-Mobile offer only 1GB of speedy 4G LTE data and unlimited text and calls. However you could always just opt-in for a pay-as-you go plan but that'll require some tentative tracking of what you're using.

That rounds up to about $40 a month for the most basic prepaid plan that either carriers offer. I could understand why someone would benefit from unlimited calls but really, unlimited texts makes it sounds like text messaging is still a hip thing these days. But that is what the big players are offering, if you look on the other end of the spectrum, we have smaller carriers like Ting and FreedomPop which utilizes the same network from either Sprint or T-Mobile but in a much cost effective price range. Essentially, both Ting and FreedomPop have this pay-as-you go plans which are priced more affordable than what you get from the big four

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Facebook's timeline time machine caught me off guard

A brief flashback!

Whether you like it or not, Facebook is a still the undisputed king of social media as it still ranks on top of the list in terms of monthly active users. While, It is not the most well-loved social media platform, Facebook is still a necessity just because it is the most commonly used social network out there (unless if you're in China or North Korea). I still remember that I wrote a piece about facebook a couple of years back signifying my 5th year on the social media platform. This year will my mark my eight year on facebook and this article will serve as an update towards that article from 2013.

The inspiration for this article comes from one of Facebook's newer inventions to improve the 'social' experience. That is the 'on this day' segment which brings back some nostalgic posts from a couple years back on that specific day. I get where Facebook is going for with this segment, it's like the History's channel 'today in history' segment where they relook at the past. This feature has been on my timeline for the past few weeks already but earlier this week, the significance of this section struck me.
Facebook updated their logo, have you noticed it? — "2015 is the time for change as this is the first time since 2005 that Facebook is changing how their logo looks like. The new typography design isn't too far from the original, it's just the font have been given some rounder edges." Continue reading.
I stumbled upon a flashback of a poll from the WAA page about what company do you want to see a phone from and the top vote was for Microsoft to make one. Well, at that time, it was so much of a pipe dream that Microsoft would be making phones as Nokia was thriving at it. But little did we know that Microsoft did eventually buy over Nokia's mobile division and currently we are living in the world of Microsoft Lumia phones opposed to Nokia Lumia phones.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

4 Apps to get you started with Windows Phone

the essentials

As you might already know (if you have been following this site), I am quite an advocate for Windows Phone. I was instantly attracted to the Lumia 800 with its striking cyan color and even until today, the concept of a live tile still feels like something other platforms should adapt. Windows Phone might always end up being the third wheel when compared to both iOS and Android due to Microsoft's app ecosystem in which popular developers just don't see the need to bring their app into the Windows Store
Lumia 630 Review"Another thing which i was seriously bugged about is that there is no proximity sensor and if you don’t know what a proximity sensor is used for, it is that sensor which turns off your display when you take a call so you don’t accidentally press" Continue reading.
Big named apps like Snapchat and specifically the entire Google app selection like Gmail, Google Maps, Google+ and Google Photos still do not exist on the Windows Store because the people behind them don't like Microsoft. While the Windows Phone app gap definitely exists, devoted developers like Rudy Huyn have expressed their loyalty to the Windows platform by filling out that app gap with an unofficial version that tends to work better than the original one.

But here it is, 4 essential apps that you need to have on your Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile device.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What happened during CES 2016

Taking notice of product launches and trade shows is a big part of blogging about technology and the annual Consumer Electronics show is a dear part of me as I have been tuning in to all the announcements for a couple of years now and frankly speaking, everything feels a little boring now. As the years go by, I begin to look away from CES just because everything about has changed. Sure, the new products are exciting but all the major announcements or headlines are basically a little overkill. So, here I am writing about a recap of what I can remember most about CES 2016.

Not going to talk too much about the overkill stuff like the Samsung fridge with a gigantic tablet display. It is the future and all but at the moment it is impractical whatsoever due to it's relatively high price tag. But instead, I am going to focus on the mobile technology part of CES 2016. Maybe a little about the cars and home appliances but generally speaking, I am not an expert or advocate of either genres. So, it's just mostly about the new tablets, computers, laptops. Fitness trackers and mobile accessories.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Here are 12 Windows Store apps for your new Windows 10 PC

Nothing beats that feeling of laying your hands on some new hardware and I'm pretty sure that some of you out there have picked up a new device or received a gift in conjunction with the holiday season. I have personally gotten myself the new surface pro 4 and you can read about my first impressions of the device in my previous article. Well If you have recently gotten your hands on a new Windows 10 powered computer (or even a Mac) or if you want to see what apps that I use on a daily basis, here is a list of my must have apps on a computer.
My first week with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 — "The deep hardware and software integration allows the Surface Pen to perform at it's tip top condition without any latency issues compared to other third party apps. I am quite happy with Windows 10 so far and I have been using it since it was made available to everyone" Continue reading.
First off, I would go to www.ninite.com and start selecting a few applications from the list and download the installer so that I don’t need to go to a bunch of different sites to get the download packages. I have been using ninite for quite some time now and it is a very useful tool quickly get started. Then I continue the installation process with other programs like Photoshop and visual studio which are not available on ninite. Finally, the last thing I'll do on Windows 10 specifically is to uninstall the get skype and get office app.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My first week with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Not a review

Third times' the charm and the Surface Pro 3 announced last year was probably the best representation of a tablet which can replace a laptop. But the question is, how do you succeed a pretty solid device. Well, Microsoft's new Surface Pro 4 tablet builds upon the existing form factor of the outgoing Surface Pro 3 and improves on it with some new hardware configurations all while boasting a thinner and lighter design. The star of the show is the new 12.3" PixelSense display which has 5 million pixels and also Intel's new Skylake CPUs which are more efficient compared to the Haswell processors on the Surface Pro 3.
New Surface and Lumia, thoughts on the Microsoft event"While Apple happily called Microsoft the productivity masters during their iPad Pro announcement, Microsoft was not shy to compare Apple's products with their new hybrid tablet offerings. Panos Panay did not directly compare the new Surface devices to Apple's iPad Pro but instead did a more subjective comparison between similar products." Continue reading.
But despite the somewhat incremental update, there has been a fair share of the problems that Microsoft is facing with the Surface Pro 4 (and Surface Book). The Surface Pro 4 has been plagued with some hardware defects and software issues from screen bleeding to speaker pops and issues with battery life, this is by no means a small problem since there has been a lot of complaints and Microsoft even issued an official note to acknowledge the problems being faced by early adopters. Even I had problems buying the Surface Pro 4 and had to outright replace the first unit that I received due to a hardware defect.

So, yeah I bought the Surface Pro 4 last week and I have been using it to do some daily tasks for the past week. After an adventurous week of dealing with some software and hardware issues of the Surface Pro 4, here's what I think about the device.