30 Aug 2010

The Samsung Galaxy S

A phone I am eagerly waiting to review is the Samsung Galaxy S i9000. The android phone was launched in June in Singapore and is now available in the UK. A version called the Samsung Captivate was launched in the US by AT&T. Another version was launched by Sprint called the Epic 4G which includes 4G connectivity and a slide-out keyboard.

Features include a bright 4 inch Super AMOLED touchscreen, a 1 GHz "Hummingbird" processor, a 5 megapixel camera as well as a VGA camera in the front and 16GB internal memory. Weighing only 118g, it is much lighter than other similar smart phones in the market.

It still uses the Android 2.1. However, I heard that an update to Android 2.2 is coming soon.

One software I am really interested in is the ThinkFree Office Mobile which allows you to view and edit Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents.

On the negative side, I have read that the battery life is a bit disappointing. This is something I have experienced with other Samsung phones and it seems they have not learnt the lesson.

15 Aug 2010

The amazing Nokia N900

It's been a while since I last wrote about how the Nokia N900 came to my rescue at a conference. I really love this phone. Let me start with the huge (for a mobile)3.5-inch high resolution WVGA transreflective screen - the images are really clear with brilliant colours (65K) even in bright sunlight.

Nokia N900

It comes with a 600 MHz processor and upto 256 MB RAM and 768 MB virtual memory which allows you to open and run several apps at once. I had no problems viewing videos and even make presentations using the TV-out cable which came with the box. Connecting to the net was surprisingly fast as well and the browsers loaded almost instantaneously.

Nokia N900

Nokia N900

Nokia N900

Nokia N900

Nokia N900

The N900 has a resistive touchscreen which may not be as sensitive as the iPhone or my Samsung Glaxy Portal and I found myself using the stylus a lot. For typing, the sliding full QWERTY keyboard comes really handy.

As I mentioned in my last post, the 5 megapixel camera with the Carl Zeiss lens gives excellent results. It has autofocus with 3x digital zoom and dual LED flash. However, I wonder why they didn't put in better quality Xenon flashes.

It also comes with a lot of storage to store your videos, music, apps and photographs - 32GB internal storage which can be extended upto 16 GB of additional storage with an external microSD card.

I didn't make much use of the integrated GPS but it came in handy a few times when I had to use the Ovi maps to find my way.

However, the reason the Nokia N900 has become the "hacker's phone is because of it's operating system - Maemeo 5, which is based on the open source Linux. It's amazing what some people have done with their Nokia N900's. For example, one guy uses it as a remote control to fly a helicopter.

I showed the phone to several friends and the first comment they usually made is that it looked bulky - It is a bulky phone (110.9 x 59.8 x 18mm) but it fits really well into my palm and was not as heavy as it looks.

Overall an amazing phone. Sad I have to give it back. Thanks to the guys at WOM World/ Nokia for letting me try out this phone.

10 Aug 2010

Camera repair site

I have had my old Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9 lying around unused for a long time. It's still working perfectly - the only problem is that the viewing LCD is no longer working.

I took it to some shops to get repair it but the quote was too high. It was actually not worth it and it might even be cheaper to get a new camera, which is exactly what I did.

Most shops don't give me a straight answer and they always tell to bring the camera in and they will have a look at it and then come up with a quote. Why is it so difficult to tell me how much it would cost to repair the damn LCD on the back?

However, I have not given up looking for a place where I can get the camera repaired and I came across the Teleplan camera repair site. They have made getting a quote to repair cameras really easy - in just 4 steps.
First of all, I select the camera brand and then pick the specific model. I then click the "Get a free quote" button. This takes me to another page where I can select the camera problem to be repaired. This automatically takes me to the repair quote page. This site is so amazing. I also went to their Sony camera repair and Olympus camera repair pages because I know of friends who also have old cameras that need repair and I was quite pleased to see that they repair old models as well. However, the prices don't seem to vary which is quite surprising. Having said that, the prices were surprisingly much cheaper than the quotes I have received so far for my camera.

Unfortunately the site is only available for customers in the UK and Canada. I guess we have to wait for a UK site to offer similar services.

9 Aug 2010

Google ends Wave

Was really dissapointed when I found out that Google has decided to stop developing the Google Wave as a standalone product. Read their announcement on the Google blog.

I guess I am among the only few geeks who thought this project was amazing. Read my post "Google wave as a collaborating tool" which I wrote in March this year.

However, it was probably the right choice for Google as I know of only a few friends who have signed up and I hardly use it myself. As an online friend told me "Google Wave is great if one have a friend to collaborate with, else it's pretty much meaningless."

I tried to get other friends sign up but they thought that it was too complex and that they preferred to use Google documents or email each other back and fourth the old fashioned way. I am not really sure why it never took off. I guess poor publicity might be a reason - most of the people I talked to have never heard of it. Many of them confused it with Google Buzz. A lot of guys who had heard of it but never used it, didn't really know what it was for or were not aware of the amazing features including "drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing".

Anyway, the site is still up (up to at least the end of the year according to their update). I was thinking of getting my students to use it for their collaborative projects next term but I guess. it's back to Facebook where literally everyone has an account.

8 Aug 2010

Winners of the Attitude towards blog survey.

As part of my PhD research, I carried out a survey of blog readers. The survey was conducted over a period of four months ending on the 31st of December 2009. It taken quite a while but I have finally completed my statistical analysis and am in the process of writing up my thesis.

427 completed responses were received out of which 399 were usable for the final analysis. However, only 366 respondents provided a contact address.

Some may recall that I had offered some prizes as well as an incentive for taking part in the survey.

Well, here is the list of lucky winners, which was generated using the List Randomizer on Random.org.

Bukola Bolarinwa is the winner of the £100 grand prize. 10 other lucky winners will receive Amazon vouchers worth £10. I shall be contacting all winners asap.

I shall be donating a further £199.50 to Cancer Research UK (50p for each completed and valid questionnaire) .

I would like to thank everybody who took part in the survey.

1 Aug 2010

Sony Ericsson's new Android phones

Sony Ericsson has come out two compact Android phones - the Xperia™ X10 mini and X10 mini pro. The major difference between the two is that the X10 mini pro has a slide out QWERTY keypad.

The phones come with a unique application which Sony Ericsson calls the Timescape™ which allows users to access:
...all communication together in one place so users can see at a glance text messages, missed calls, and Facebook™ and Twitter updates

There is also the intuitive 4 corner touch screen user interface, which users can customise to access the most used apps or widgets.

The phones come with a 5 megapixel camera built in and supports HSPA 900/2100 and EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, HSPA 850/1900/2100 and EDGE 850/900/1800/1900.

Both comes with built-in aGPS which you can use with Google Maps and Wayfinder.

The X10 mini pro comes in Black, Red and Pearl White. You get more choice of colours with the X10 mini: Black, Pearl White, Lime, Red, Pink and Silver.

For more info, check out the links below: