Iphone – Is it that great?

Many friends of mine have been bugging me to get an iPhone since it’s early days. I have always wanted one but the timing just wasn’t right. When I needed to change my phone, I got my i900 Samsung Omnia since that was available locally when the iPhone wasn’t even in Malaysia yet. After a year plus of loving that phone, the only thing that really bugged me was the software keyboard on the Windows Mobile device. I could never find a nice easy to use keyboard with high accuracy on my omnia. That’s when I decided I needed a device with a nice physical keyboard. Hence came my n97 mini. Loved the keyboard but the phone kept on hanging as I also loaded the phone with too many 3rd party softwares.

After a period of 1 month, I am now on my iPhone. Mind you I don’t normally change phones after just one month but the hanging of the n97 was just counter productive. I decided to finally try the iPhone and although it’s been about 2-3 weeks only, I can tell you that this is indeed the phone for me. If you are a person who loves to be connected, play multimedia files like songs or videos, full size touch screens, smooth and fast execution of applications, kick a** graphics, crash free usage then the iPhone is for you. And oh did I mention that the software keyboard on the iPhone rocks? It’s more accurate and user friendly than the omnia’s. And it’s not much different than the n97 mini’s physical keyboard. I can type pretty fast on the iPhone. Take this blog posting for example, I am actually using my iPhone to type this article! Hasn’t taken long but if I were to use the omnia to do this, I think I would take substantially longer and most probably get frustrated along the way.

So apart from the necessities, the phone also has a powerful emailing system. I can check mails on the go. I can do my facebooking. I can indulge in some very high quality games too to help myself wind down. I am also able to use the unbuilt gps to help me with my navigation around Malaysian roads.

Ok for a first posting on my iPhone about my iPhone, I think I shall wind up here. I am not saying this phone is the best phone in the world but I think this is yet the best phone that suits my needs. Three cheers for my first apple device… Finally!

Nokia n97 mini

I recently got hold of a Nokia n97 mini as a replacement for the Samsung Omnia i900 which I have been happily using for the past year and a half (well almost). Why did I get the n97? Well its a combination of factors but the main reason would have to be the presence of a physical keyboard for text entry. I also opted for an N series (Entertainment) Nokia phone instead of an E series (business) because it had a full touch screen which I am already so used to from using the Omnia.

The Omnia has been one of my better purchases as of late but  due to the lack of a physical keyboard, something was just lacking. Text entry was a chore and the thought  of replying simple SMS messages was a nightmare. If Samsung  or the Windows Mobile device had a better text entry like the iphone, it would have been much more pleasant to use. Nonetheless, I still had fun with the Omnia and it was totally useful since I was able to use the Garmin XT GPS navigation software to get around and the Internet Connection Sharing  to hook up my notebooks to the mobile 3G network while on the go.

The n97 did not fall short in my requirements, as I have also managed to install the Garmin XT software it. I have also purchased a copy of Joikuspot  Premium (at a promo rate of 7 Euros) to hotspot enable my phone so that I can easily connect my notebooks to my 3G via wifi to my phone. This is a great APP and I recommend it to anyone who needs to get connected easily.

Keyboard wise, the touch screen on the n97 was more receptive and text seem to enter more precisely under the TXT9 (abc) mode than as compared with the Omnia. As mentioned, there’s just something lacking here which makes data entry on the Omnia a chore rather than a joy. The n97 also has a slider keyboard (as can be seen on the image) and typing on it is easy. I can tell you I get 99% of the characters right on the n97 as compared to perhaps 60% on the Omnia. I might be exagerating a little here but I seriously “swear” that I was hitting the backspace more than any other keys on the Omnia virtual keyboard. Pudgy fingers don’t help as well on touch screen keyboards.

Camera wise, the n97 packs the same punch as my i900 as it comes with a 5 megapixel camera on the back (and of course a 3G capable video camera on the front). I haven’t really tested the camera extensively but the pictures which I casually snapped turned out pretty alright. I have yet to test the camera for indoor shots. As you can see from the picture below, the design of the camera which comes with double LED flashes are nicely designed into the back of the phone.

Overall I’m so far pretty happy with the phone. There doesn’t seem to be many apps which I am able to install onto the phone but it is after all my intention to have this as a “business” cum “entertainment” phone which allows to me type easily as well as check my emails as well as do some basic facebooking and surfing. Various widgets come with the phone that allows you to check on news, videos, podcasts, weather, facebook, youtube & etc. Basically to make the most of this phone, it is advisable that you sign yourself up for an unlimited package with your mobile provider like I have. With most widgets turned on (i.e. Facebook and Email checking constantly) plus ability to stay connected via Fring, the battery is a little lacking here. I can’t seem to get through 1 day without having to charge the battery before the end of the day. Then again, perhaps I’m just connected too much and of course if I compare it to my i900, this battery seems to outlast the i900 many times over. I guess this is due to advances in technology…

Why didn’t I get an iphone? Well… as mentioned, my main intention was to get a phone with a physical keyboard and while the iphone has great apps, the keyboard is still slightly lacking for me. Perhaps in the near future I might pick one up… just so that I can fly the new Parrot Ar.Drone (http://ardrone2.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/en/index.html). Pretty kewl I think! Perhaps if someone can get me a cracked version from the US then I don’t have to pay heaps for the one provided here by the local mobile telco.

Commited Social Suicide…well not quite…

I read from somewhere the other day that there were sites around the internet that helped people commit suicide… Wondering what this was all about, I found out that people weren’t exactly committing real suicide but rather “Social Suicides” which is where they wipe out their “Online Persona”. There are actually sites out there that allow and help people get rid of their online persona like those on MySpace, Friendster or Facebook. Now this is an interesting thought and naturally these social sites have “blocked” such sites from accessing and doing what they should be. Naturally it goes against the privacy and access policies stated on these social sites.

I guess there are actually people out there who wish to get rid of their online information and identities. Reasons could be many fold but I guess sometimes, the less information there is available online for others to see, the safe one would feel. However this means that the person would also be less “connected” and “wired”.

As a first move in joining this social suicide move, I actually removed all the game applications like “Special Forces”, “Restaurant City”, “Farmville”, “Fishville” from my Facebook profile. Why? Well… coz I guess I’ve had enough fun with these apps and I’d like to spend my time doing other more productive things like writing this blog entry for example. If I didn’t remove the apps today, I’d most probably be doing some missions or feeding my hungry staff and fishes and not to mention ploughing my field and milking my cows…

If anyone wants to call me out for a drink… I’m now free to take up your offer… 🙂

Lumix GH1 Loose Lens

camera-frontLUMIX_G_VARIO_14-140MM_4-5_8_ASPH_2_S

Some Lumix GH1 units have been found to have a problem with “lens play”. Basically with the 14/140mm stock lens fitted to the body, there is a slight play when you twist the lens while performing zooming. When you reach either extremes, you will be able to feel the free twisting movement. The free play is very minimal, however when you hit the extreme ends, you will definitely hear a click sound (which is the sound of the lens hitting the body mount) and if you are recording video,  the interal mic will pick up the click sound.

Some users have reported that there is nothing wrong with the lens mount since fitting another lens (apart from the 14/140) actually results in a tight fit. This points the problem to the 14/140 lens itself. However I am sure some might be due to the body, and some might be due to the lens. After all, it does take two ends to make a tight doesn’t it?

Since the camera is new and still under warranty, I have sent it in to Panasonic for them to check out the problem. Hopefully they will be able to solve the problem. For the price paid for the camera and kit lens, one would expect not to encounter problems like this. I wonder what went wrong… Manufacturing defect? Bad Quality? Design Flaw? Assembly Problem? You figure…

Lenovo Ideapad S10-2 Netbook… Loving it!

Lenovo Ideapad S10-2 Front View

After shopping around a bit last weekend, I bought myself a LENOVO Ideapad S10-2 Netbook. The price was recently dropped from RM1400+ to RM1199.00, so after considering between Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Asus, Sony,.. I picked up the Lenovo S10-2 based on the cost, heat level, weight, size & usability.

After having used it on and off for the entire week, I have to say this is one of the best purchase I’ve made in a while. I love the light weight compared to my old Dell Inspiron which is about to dislocate my shoulders, I love the 6 cell battery which easily makes the notebook last a good 6+ hours!, I love the keyboard which apparently is 85% of a full size keyboard, I love the built-in webcam and its cool facial recognition software for windows logon & etc. The only thing I didn’t really like about it was the inability to set the screen to a higher resolution than 1024 x 600. Having a higher resolution would have enabled me to fit more into the screen without having to scroll so much but then again, for travelling… the small size advantage overshadows this problem anyday. Using it at home? Just hook it up to an external monitor for the higher res.

Here are some specs:

  • 1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom Processor
  • 1GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz
  • Windows XP Home Edition (SP3)
  • 10.1″ WSVGA Glossy LED-backlit display with integrated camera 1024×600
  • 160GB 5400rpm Western Digital Scorpio Blue hard drive
  • Intel GMA 950 Integrated Graphics
  • Broadcom 11b/g Wi-Fi wireless
  • 4-in-1 Media card
  • 6-Cell Li-ion 10.8v 4.06Ah 44Wh battery
  • 40W AC Adapter
  • Size: 10.2″ x 7.6″ x 0.7-1.8″ (including battery)
  • Weight: 2lbs 11oz, 3lbs 5.4oz travel weight

lenovo-s10-3_w500Different Color Designs

Samsung i900 with Windows Mobile 6.5 Rom

Do you have a Samsung Omnia – i900 and have you been waiting for the official release of the WM 6.5 ROM but can’t wait any longer? If you’re like me then you might want to read on to see how I got hold of the WM 6.5 ROM for my i900.

The ROM installed on my i900 is not the official ROM from Samsung. I heard and read that there might not even be an official ROM from them. So much for their good support and frequent release of updates back when the phone was newly released in the market. I guess, they either lack the man power (developers) or they are forcing you to get hold of their OMNIA II (which has an update for WM 6.1 to WM 6.5)

Luckily for us, we’ve got our own CHEFs around that are dedicated enough to cook us some ROMS with WM 6.5 for our i900 Omnias. I decided to try them out and what do you know?!? I’m stuck on it. I just love the idea of having WM 6.5 on the OMNIA. For those who are interested, you might want to check out the following ROMS which I have tried:

1. QBUS & Sector & Khuanchai Windows Mobile 6.5 Research Thread at http://www.modaco.com/content/i900-general-omnia-rom-discussion/285140/qbus-sector-khuanchai-windows-mobile-6-5-research-thread/

2. Custom WM6.5 ROMs for i900 by Ryrzy at http://www.modaco.com/content/i900-general-omnia-rom-discussion/290203/custom-wm6-5-roms-for-i900-by-ryrzy/

Basically I flashed my phone multiple times over the past couple of days trying to decide which is the most stable rom with lots of eye candy and functionality. I found that both the ROMS are equally good but for myself, I prefer and have selected Ryzry’s ROM. Reason for this is because I love the way it looks, the way it responds and the battery just seems to last longer than the other ROMs I’ve tried. Just as a comparison, one ROM could bring the battery level down to 30% after 1 day’s normal usage while comparably Ryzry’s ROM only brought it down to 80% . Is that a big improvement or what?! I definitely want a phone which can last as possible without having the need to carry a solar charger around 😉

Basically, I’m using Ryzry’s ROM and everything works perfectly except for the WIFI. The Comm Manager somehow is still not working perfectly and I am unable to connect the i900 to my home Wi-Fi, nor am I able to connect my notebook to my the i900 via the included Wi-Fi Router or the WMWiFiRouter software. That shows that Wi-Fi is practically useless. However since I am on the Unlimited Data Package plan from Maxis (which they don’t offer anymore to new subscribers by the way), I use the Phone’s 3G/3G+ most of the time and I also connect my notebook to the net via the cable so for now a dead Wi-Fi is not so much of a problem. Hopefully newer cooked ROMs will bring the functionality back.

As of writing this post, I am on Ryzry’s 23506_M2D ROM. Its the most stable and fastest ROM I’ve tried over the last couple of days. I think I’ve had enough flashing for now… will just have to wait… Will try to keep this post updated if a newer version of the ROM comes up with working Wi-Fi capability. Do check out the sites listed above and flash away. Do make sure you backup all your contact details before proceeding as flashing will lead to loss of data. Flashing is also done at your own risk as it might “brick” the phone. So far.. I’ve had no problems myself.

UPDATE – 14 Nov 2009 (4:06pm):

 After having discovered another RM ([ROM] Anzo Romárium) from a youtube video, I am now officially using his latest 23088Full+M2D ROM which is available from http://www.modaco.com/content/i900-general-omnia-rom-discussion/293838/rom-anzo-romarium-update-07-11/ . There has been reports that this rom is stable & fast (yes so far this is the case since trying just now) and the best thing is… the WiFi from WMWiFiRouter is working like a charm. I am now connected successfully from my netbook’s WiFi to my Omnia’s 3G. You might want to give this ROM a try 🙂

Midomi on Samsung Omnia

With the release of the Samsung Omnia II which is an improvement over the Samsung Omnia I which I am still happily using, I am now able to use the Midomi Application on my Omnia. Since the two companies have entered an agreement to allow usage of the Midomi on the new Samsung Omnia II, there are parties who have extracted the Midomi Application from the new ROM which now allows us to install the application via a CAB file onto our old Omnias.

If you haven’t heard of Midomi, here’s a brief rundown. It is an application which is easily downloadable onto the Iphone (previously and now onto the Omnia) which allows you to HUM or SING a tune onto the phone and it will do an online search onto the Midomi Database to find out the NAME and ARTIST of the song.

No longer will you need to crack your head to find out the name of a song/tune that has been stuck to your head. Try out the application at their website at http://www.midomi.com/. You can use your PC’s mic and use the online app on their webpage to see for yourself how it works. It’s really cool and I’m glad I now have it on my Samsung Omnia I. Sorry I don’t have the link here on my site but a quick search on the internet should bring you to some sites which link to the CAB file.

GPS Voice Navigation on the Blackberry & Other Phones

For those of you who have been wondering how you are able to get your Blackberry’s GPS to work like that of the Garmin GPS, think no more. I managed to locate on the internet (though I’m not the first to do so),  a FREE GPS program that does the job of voice navigation pretty well on the Blackberry. Whilst I don’t think it is as good as the Garmin Mobile XT on my Samsung Omnia, I think it does the job well enough to get you from Point A to Point B. It could and would have done a better job if the maps were more updated (not that they are that outdated to begin with). All in all, it will get you places even though the program is not as feature packed and heavy as other GPS programs.

Do note that the “amAze” software is not limited to Blackberries, it also works for a host of other handphones as well, so if you wish to give it a try… check it out if your phone has an in-built GPS. The software is free. The only cost you will need to pay is for “DATA” Transmissions as Maps are not stored locally, they are downloaded on the go. An unlimited data plan is recommended.

For those of you who are interested, you may check out the “amAze” GPS software at http://www.amazegps.com/ . The coverage support ranges from Europe, North America, Australia and parts of Africa and Asia (Malaysia included as I have tested). Have fun!

Duplicated Tweet Messages on Facebook

I’ve got a problem here…. whenever I perform a post here on wordpress, a copy is automatically sent to Tweeter via Tweeter Tools. Tweeter will then send a copy of my latest Tweets to Facebook.

Meanwhile I also have a WordBook Plugin here which posts my articles to Facebook.

As you can see… I end up having double posts on Facebook. I guess I will need to disable one of them.. either Tweeter Tools or WordBook. Any idea which one I should choose to disable? Please let me know your comments and suggestions here…

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