Saturday, 29 August 2009

10 Basic Things I hate about Windows

Ever wake up and ask yourself why you are presented with some crappy software or operating system (OS) that makes your working-life miserable? Yes, I've been waking up to Vista for the past two years and it's not even funny. Do you ever wonder why nerds hail Linux or Unix? Well, Linux/Unix is designed for people who for example, hate to be prompt every time on how they need to use their system. Be warned Linux might not be for you because I won't want you to use the RM command to completely delete your whole archive or documents. So here are the things I hate about Windows, especially Vista.

1. I hate it whenever it asks me if I want to "continue". For goodness's sake I did ask Windows to open that application for me, why must I press one more button to open an application!

2. I hate when it suddenly rolls back to the default settings and you can't find any of your files. I panic for a minute because I haven't backed up that very day but I always get my files back.

3. I hate it when it suddenly crashes on me, especially when I'm in middle of scripting, programming or writing a very crucial report. I learnt to backup and save constantly.

4. I hate the useless error messages. E.g. Delivery manager has stopped working!

5. I hate the fact that I've to have an anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-adware all on one OS.

6. Microsoft Office…I cannot count how many times I've specified that I require spell check for only Queens English (Ireland).

7. I hate restoring the system to a previous state. I hate blue screen errors too!

8. I hate repairing and reinstalling corrupt drivers (most times they are caused by spywares and adwares!).

9. Oh yes, my vista didn't come with a "RESTORE CD" or "DRIVERS INSTALLATION CD". They put it on my system and expected me to save it onto a CD or an external drive.

10. VISTA SUCKS…sometimes I just want my XP back but hey I do have XP on my desktop and it has it own issues too.

These are just basics; I don't want to even go into technical details. Windows is a nut case. Just like a life partner, you cannot do with them and you cannot do without them. Even if you go and get yourself a Mac, some day, you will need Windows. Mark my words or ask my twin, SK. I'm dedicating this piece to him and all the Mac lovers out there.


Latifa Ayoola

Saturday, 22 August 2009

11 Things You Need to Know About the PS3 Slim


Sony's slimmed-down PS3 is a cute little ugly duckling, and not without its concessions. From fewer USB ports to an over-priced vertical stand, and its removed "Install Other OS" feature, here's what you should know before picking one up.

I actually might buy a PS3 Slim myself. I like that the matte finish is more scratch and fingerprint resistant, even if it comes over as a little retro Chinese knock-off. In the same vein, these 11 considerations may not affect how you plan to use the Slim but knowing is half the battle, right?


1. Available September 1, Prices Already Dropped (North America)

If you prefer your PS3 fat and glossy, the existing 80GB model has now dropped to $300 that's how much the new 120GB PS3 Slim will be in September. (The current 160GB PS3 has also been reduced, to $400.)

2. You'll Probably Want the Stand

The Slim isn't really stable enough to balance vertically without its stand. Problem is, the stand is sold separately, and at $24, seems over priced. You also won't be able to pick one up until 2 days after the PS3 Slim first goes on sale. Expect to eventually see third-party alternatives in a Skittles-rainbow of colors.


3. Hard Drive Upgrades

As we've mentioned, FCC records indicate that Sony may also have plans for 150GB and 250GB versions of the 120GB PS3 Slim. Either way, it only takes one screw (now located under the front, instead of the side) to swap in your own SATA laptop hard disk (and doing so won't avoid the warranty).

4. PS3 3.0 Firmware Not Initially Pre-Installed

That's because it's released on September 1, the same day the Slim goes on sale. So to get the 3.0 Firmware goodness, you'll need to sit through a software update out of the box. Sony says it'll preinstall 3.x in later units. Sounds fair to me.


5. It Won't Play Your Old PlayStation 2 Games

That won't be returning," Sony's John Koller recently confirmed. Likely not a big deal unless you've got a massive collection of PS2 titles that you don't want to part with. If so, the launch PS3s with hardware PS2 Emotion Engine are your best bet (for greater compatibility), but the second-generation 60- and 80GB models will also play PS2 games using software emulation.

6. No Linux for You!

In its infinite wisdom, Sony has removed the "Install Other OS" feature (Settings -> System Settings -> Install Other OS) and official Linux support along with it. The current 80- and 160GB PS3s support Linux, but Sony's cut the cord on the Slim because it wants to "standardize" the OS. Counting down to open-source hack in 3, 2…


7. No On-Off Switch

The Slim has no on-off switch at the back, so now relies on the standby power button at the front. Both the power and eject buttons are no longer touch-style; they've been changed to physical buttons.

8. No Media Card Reader

No surprise here: PS3s haven't had media card slots for ages. Why not just stream photos from your laptop to the PS3 wirelessly, or copy them to a USB drive? Speaking of which…

9. Two USB Ports, Not Four

Not what we had hoped for, but again, not surprising. Not only is this a slimmed-down model, but all third-generation PS3s have only 2 USB ports (and skip the media card reader).

10. Bravia Sync

Connect the PS3 Slim to a Bravia Sync-capable Sony HDTV (via HDMI) and you'll be able to control the XMB interface with your TV remote. The TV will even automatically power down the PS3 when it gets turned off.

11. It Plays The Same PS3 Games!

Slim or not, it's still a freakin' PS3 and will play the same PS3 games and Blu-ray movies you throw at it! Plus, the smaller 45nm Cell chip helps it consume less power, and may potentially even be a little faster.

Source: Smokie's Writting Pad

Friday, 21 August 2009

Microsoft Zune HD

The Zune HD from Microsoft enters the ring to challenge the ipod, and dare i say it, it does pack a mean punch, i've never owned a zune or felt the need to own one, but with the zune HD i just might be changing my mind.

• Built-in HD Radio™ receiver. Allows you to listen to higher-quality sound than is available from traditional radio channels, as well as access additional programming through HD2 and HD3 multicast channels from many of your favorite local FM radio stations at no extra cost.

• HD video output capabilities. Supports HD video playback from the device through a premium HDMI A/V docking station (sold separately) directly to an HD TV in 720p, making it easy to enjoy better-than-DVD-quality video on your own big screen at home.

• OLED touch screen. Allows you to easily flip through music, movies and other content. The 3.3-inch glass screen and 16:9 widescreen format display (480x272 resolution) offer a premium viewing experience.

• Built-in Wi-Fi. Allows for browsing, streaming or downloading new music from Zune Marketplace.

• Internet browser. Full-screen Web browsing, optimized for the multi-touch screen with zoom-in and zoom-out gestures.

• Accessories, at home and on the road. Zune HD and AV Dock charges and syncs players while playing supported 720p HD videos on HDTVs. Play HD Radio, music and podcasts from your Zune HD device through your car stereo using the Zune Premium Car Pack.

Chiedu Ifeozo

PS3 Slim Vs PS3 original

Monday, 17 August 2009

Office Mobile comes to Nokia smartphones

This rumor has been circulating around for a while but now it is as official as it gets: Microsoft Office Mobile is coming to Nokia smartphones. This and other mobile productivity and connectivity solutions are the direct result of the global alliance between the two giants, which was announced today.

No, Nokia don't have any plans of making a Windows Mobile device any time soon. As of today the two companies will start working together on the design, development and marketing of diverse productivity solutions. Target users of the new products will be the corporate users who will appreciate them most. So, it's not a surprise that the first products to incorporate them will be the members of the renowned E-series.

Nokia and Microsoft share efforts

This might sound strange at first to some but a second look at the written above reveals that this alliance does not only plan to bring the Microsoft Office Mobile to the Symbian powered smartphones (in fact, Quickoffice already does it quite successfully), but also to add new and useful mobile professional solutions.

As of next year Nokia should start shipping the Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile on its smartphones with plans to widen the range of apps in the future.

So, what can we actually expect from that alliance? Here is a clue:

  • The ability to view, edit, create and share Office documents on more devices in more places with mobile-optimized versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft OneNote

  • Enterprise instant messaging and presence, and optimized conferencing and collaboration experience with Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile

  • Mobile access to intranet and extranet portals built on Microsoft SharePoint Server

  • Enterprise device management with Microsoft System Center

With the over 200 million Nokia smartphones sold worldwide it's not a surprise that Microsoft decided to start this alliance namely with the Finns. And as far as Nokia is concerned, its still young service Ovi will now have a strong reinforcement with Microsoft by its side.

Source: Smokie's Writting Pad

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Nvidia Tegra HD Mobile CPU Devices

Tegra-Based Portable Media Players

Zune HD

NVIDIA brings the ultimate visual experience and exceptional battery life to the new Zune® HD player. Enjoy 720p HD video playback and output, Web browsing, vivid photos, and days of music playback. The NVIDIA®-powered Zune HD puts portable perfection at your fingertips. Learn more.


NVIDIA and its leading ODM partners unveiled revolutionary new

Tegra-based mobile Internet devices (MIDs), including Tegra netbooks

and tablets, at Computex 2009.

The NVIDIA® Tegra™ computer-on-a-chip is the first solution for mobile Internet devices to offer visual computing for high-resolution displays while using so little battery power that 10 hours of HD video playback or Web browsing becomes a reality. Powering rich, always-on Internet, up to 1080p HD video playback, Flash acceleration, and intuitive 3D user interfaces
all while delivering up to 5x the battery life of the competition Tegra delivers the experiences that today’s mobile consumers demand.

Only Tegra can deliver HD Internet and exceptional multimedia capabilities to mobile devices that can go days between charges.

Source: Smokie's Writting Pad

NVIDIA / icon incar Tegra based digital instrument cluster

Posted by Smokie

Nvidia Tegra HD Mobile CPU (Videos)

Source: Smokie's Writting Pad

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Unconfirmed: Dell Android-Based Phone Announcement In China "Within Days"

TechCrunch is reporting "thin" rumors from China this morning that would suggest Dell long thought to be weighing a mobile phone play in that market is all but prepared to announce a mobile phone in that country sometime this week.


The phone is rumored to run Android, but whether it actually launches this week or is merely announced is still unknown.

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington admits the evidence is "extremely thin" in post this morning, but also goes far to support his source, saying that they and other sources used to break news in the region in the past are "spot on" with their information. The source also reports the phone could be "iPhone like" with a touchscreen and no physical keyboard.

No price, hardware shots or any other information is available at time time, so you might watch to catch a wink and wait for the inevitable morning fireworks.

Source: Smokie's Writting Pad

Sony Laptops Have Hardware Virtualization Disabled, Can't Run Windows 7's XP Mode

A user backlash began after Sony confirmed it deliberately disables hardware virtualization (required for Win 7's XP Mode) on all current Vaio laptops, due to security concerns. Now the company has said it will enable it "on select models."


This, even though the laptops use Intel Core 2 Duo processors with Intel's Virtual Technology (this, or AMD's equivalent are needed to run Windows XP Mode). Set to be included with Windows Pro 7 or above, many users have been looking forward to XP Mode because it allows software designed for XP to run without breaking like it might in Vista.

Over at the Windows 7 blog, Sony's Senior manager for product marketing, Xavier Lauwaert, responded that the company had:

…received very little if any requests to enable VT technology up until very recently.

In addition, our engineers and QA people were very concerned that enabling VT would expose our systems to malicious code that could go very deep in the Operating System structure of the PC and completely disable the latter.

For these two reasons we have decided, until recently, not to enable VT. However, with the advent of XP Virtualization, there is impetus for us to relook at the situation and I can share with you that we will enable VT on select models.

Though, I fear to say that the Z series will not be part of our VT-enabling effort. Indeed, we will focus on more recent models.

Some good news: There are online guides that claim to run through re-enabling hardware virtualization on Vaio laptops that use either a Phoenix BIOS, or the Insyde H2O UEFI framework (like the Vaio Z).

Sony_VAIO_Z series.jpg

Source: Smokie's Writting Pad

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Nokia N86 8MP Digital Camera / Cell Phone



Every detail of the metal-framed Nokia N86 8MP is thoughtfully designed with photography in mind, including 8 GB of internal memory for up to 4,000 images. Like any high-end digital camera, the memory can be increased with an exchangeable 16 GB microSD card. The device also offers a bright OLED screen with scratch resistant hardened glass, easy photo management, full sync capability with a PC and TV-out support for slide shows.

Shipping with the latest version of Nokia Maps and full Ovi integration, the Nokia N86 8MP gives a personal dimension to photos and videos. People can share their location with personal content like geotagged photos. The Nokia N86 8MP comes with a built-in compass, along with an integrated 3-months license for full voice and pedestrian navigation so that happy snappers don't lose their way when capturing life through the camera lens.


Multimedia features:

The Nokia N86 8MP, with its integrated kick stand, is ideal for watching videos and playing games. Each Nokia N86 8MP can play up to 25 hours of music on one charge which can be enjoyed with the Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-214 also announced today. People can build a personal music collection from the millions of tracks and playlists available from the Nokia Music Store, where available.




Source: Smokie's Writing Pad

Ovi by Nokia... Your Life Connected


Ovi by Nokia is the brand for Nokia's Internet services. The Ovi services can be used from a mobile device, computer (through Nokia Ovi Suite) or via the web ( Nokia focuses on five key services areas: Games, Maps, Media, Messaging and Music. Nokia's aim with Ovi is to include 3rd parties, such as operators and third-party services like Yahoo's Flickr photo site. With the announcement of Ovi Maps Player API, Nokia has started to evolve their services into a platform, enabling third-parties to make use of Nokia's Ovi services. It has some significance in that Nokia is moving deeper into the world of Internet services, where head-on competition with Microsoft, Google and Apple Inc. is inevitable.


Nokia Account

Nokia Account is the Single sign-on (SSO) solution for Nokia's Ovi services and other Nokia services. Today it works as the account also for e.g. Nokia Beta Labs and Nokia Sports Tracker.

Nokia Ovi Suite

Nokia Ovi Suite allows Nokia mobile users to organize and share their photos and PIM data between their PC and their handset. It is the next generation of Nokia PC Suite and eventually Nokia Ovi Suite will become the only computer application offered by Nokia. Current commercial version of Nokia Ovi Suite is 1.1. A beta version of Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 is also available. A Mac OS X compatible version is expected soon.


Ovi Sync

Ovi Sync allows you to sync your contacts, calendar events and notes to The service can be used as a way to backup your data or to edit it in your computer to then send it back to your phone. There is no auto-sync yet.

Ovi Store

The Ovi Store was launched world wide in May 2009. Here, customers can download mobile games, applications, videos, images, and ringing tones to their Nokia devices. Some of the items are free of charge; others can be purchased using credit card or through operator billing in selected operators. The content in Ovi Store is sorted into the following categories:

  • Recommended
  • Games
  • Personalise
  • Applications
  • Audio & video

Ovi Store offers customers content that is compatible with their mobile device and relevant to their tastes and location. Customers can share recommendations with their friends, see what they are downloading, and let them see the items you are interested

For content publishers, Nokia offers a self-service tool to bring their content to the Ovi Store. Supported content types include: J2ME, Flash applications, widgets, ringtones, wallpapers, themes, and more for Nokia Series 40 and S60 devices. Nokia offers a 70% revenue share of gross sales, net of refunds and returns, less applicable taxes and, where applicable, fixed operator billing costs.

Ovi Maps

With Ovi Maps customers can browse places from all over the world, plan trips, search for addresses and points of interest, and save them on Ovi. To use Ovi Maps in a standard web browser, one need to have Macintosh OSX computer with Safari 3, or Microsoft Windows XP or Vista, and Internet Explorer 6 or 7, or Mozilla Firefox 2 or 3.

If the Ovi Maps 3.0 application (formerly known as Nokia Maps) is installed to your compatible Nokia mobile device, you can synchronise places, collections, and routes between Ovi Maps and your mobile device.

Using Nokia Ovi Suite or Nokia Map Loader on Microsoft Windows XP or Vista, users can download and preload map data and navigator voices to their mobile device. This allows customers to save time and money with when less data is required to be downloaded over-the-air.

Ovi Mail

Ovi Mail is an easy-to-use email address designed for access from your Nokia mobile device and can also be accessed from compatible desktop browsers. The beta phase started on December 2008, and is also available for all Ovi users from 20th of February.

The web mail works with standard browsers such as IE 6, IE 7, Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 and is currently available in 15 languages - US English, UK English, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Bengali, Filipino (Tagalog), French, German, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal) and Spanish (Spain),

Currently over 35 different phone models with S40 and S60 -platform support Nokias new mail service. According to its website Ovi Mail is a leading mobile email service in Indonesia, South Africa, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil and India.


Ovi Share

Ovi Share is a media sharing website. Originally called Twango the site allows the upload and storage of photos, videos etc. Users can upload media direct from their nokia mobile phone through the share online 3.0 application or can alternately use their PC.

Ovi Files

Ovi Files is an enhanced and re-branded version of the Avvenu "Access and Share" service, which Nokia purchased in December of 2007.

Ovi Files allows users to remotely access files on their Windows PC and Macintosh computers from any web browser or browser enabled mobile device. Files also facilitates sharing/sending of files. With Ovi Files users can choose folders and files they want to be always available and Ovi Files automatically keeps an up-to-date copy stored in a secure, 'Anytime Files' 10GB online storage locker for access, even while their personal computer is turned off.

Ovi Files was made free of charge in July 2009.

Nokia Music Store

Nokia Music Store allows purchasing of music directly on a mobile device or via PC. Download of Nokia Music software for PC is available from

The store is currently available in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, United Arab Emirates, & United Kingdom with more countries launching regularly.

When you buy a Nokia Comes With Music device, you get unlimited free music downloads from millions of tracks from the Nokia Music Store for your PC & Mobile. Yours to keep even after your subscription ends.

Nokia Comes With Music is currently available in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, & United Kingdom.


The N-Gage 2.0 platform has been integrated into the Nokia N73, Nokia N78, Nokia N79, Nokia N81, Nokia N81 8GB, Nokia N82, Nokia N85, Nokia N93, Nokia N93i, Nokia N95, Nokia N95 8GB, Nokia N96 and Nokia 5320 mobile phones. Early in 2008, an updated version of the mobile gaming platform (including its online component - the N-Gage Arena) is going live, according to Nokia. The service worked in the past only with Nokia's N-Gage mobile game consoles, but the company said it will soon work with other devices too.

Source: Smokie's Writing Pad

Sunday, 2 August 2009

BlackBerry Curve 8520 (aka Gemini): Ahead of the Curve

Curve 8520_Top Angle#99C8C1.jpg


Picking up the 8520, you know it's a BlackBerry Curve. Despite the visual changes and addition of the optical track-ball-pad, it maintains that user-friendly feeling and form factor of the Curve 8300s and 8900 in hand. And the whole package works well. I was scared to say goodbye to the trackball, but took to the optical sensor within a few minutes. And though I'm not sure what processor is in there, the OS experience is much improved over the Curve 83xx (if it's the same processor, the additional memory must make a world of difference?!). While I'm more of a fan of high-end specs on gadgets, I could actually see myself leaving my Bold or Curve 8900 or Storm or 9630 at home some days and carrying around the 8520 just to enjoy the experience. It also makes me excited for what we'll see from RIM in terms of their upcoming higher-end devices. If this is the look and feel of their base model device, then I'm thinking we should be wowed by their next generation of high end devices.

Form Factor:

I personally really like the design approach Research in Motion has taken with the BlackBerry Curve 8520's form factor. On the front, they've extended the LCD protector / covering / shiny stuff (don't know what the actual term for it is but I'm sure you know what I mean) both up towards the top of the device and down over the buttons and right to the keyboard. Subbing out the trackball for optical trackpad, this combined gives the 8520 a more modern and sleek look. Though the Send / End / Menu / Back keys are still clickable, they are combined into one piece (the white lines are slightly ridged up so you always find and hit the right command). The rubber coating on the volume buttons and convenience keys also makes them seem more a part of the device itself. Along with the camera flash, another BlackBerry feature notably missing from the 8520 form factor are charging contacts - I guess there won't be a BlackBerry charging pod for this one. Come to think of it, you probably won't skin this device either since it sort of comes pre-skinned with it's rubberized body (no charging pod, no need for skins... lends well to the theory of this being a prepaid play).

All in all, it's a more unified design philosophy which I have a feeling may hold up better to wear and tear than previous BlackBerry smartphone designs.

Optical Trackball:

There are a couple of other smartphones on the market that use a similar optical trackpad for navigation, and I'm happy to say that RIM's implementation of it on the Curve 8520 seems to be pretty smooth. You can watch the video above to see it in action. Just like the standard trackball, you can adjust the sensitivity of it under Options > Screen/Keyboard. With the Audible Roll setting on Mute, I was a little tripped out by the lack of noise while navigating. With no tactile/audible response, you're really forced to look at the display to see just how far you've moved. I turned the audible roll onto Click, and from there felt immediately more at home. For navigating the OS and doing things like web browsing, the optical sensor works well. I guess it is an eight-way pad, as I could scroll diagonally while web browsing. And it does "click" down, like a regular trackball, for making selections. So far, the only place where I've found myself having a bit of difficulty with the optical input is playing BrickBreaker. I think the traditional trackball is probably better for quick, accurate motions. Though practice does make perfect. I've heard sweaty fingers and being in bright, bright light can cause issue with this kind of an optical input, but I haven't experienced any issues yet. All in all, so far it's a thumbs up from me. And with no moving parts, it should prove more durable than the traditional trackball.


Media Buttons:

New to the Curve 8520 are dedicated media player buttons, located at the top of the device. While there's no dedicated lock key on the 8520, holding down the Play / Pause button for two seconds does put the device into standby mode.



The Curve 8520 features a 320 by 240 resolution display. I left all my older BlackBerry devices at home when I came out to Orlando for WES, so unfortunately while writing this don't have an older device to compare to (will follow up next week with direct comparisons). I can say that while the display shows a decent picture and video, it is definitely a step down if you've ever used the Bold, 8900, Storm or 9630. And where you really lose out is in web browsing. 320 pixels just isn't enough these days for those of us who like to browse the web on our smartphones.

Other Stuff:

Be sure to click the images above to zoom in on the photos (I've left some descriptions beneath) and get a better look. You'll see the keyboard is much like the 8900's (which is kind of like the 8700's) but with a slightly different bottom row. There are actually two notification lights. The battery door doesn't feature a latch, but is sort of gently pried off. It is easy insert and remove microSD cards into the media card slot (also underneath the battery door) and you don't need to remove the battery to access it.



Source: Smokie's Writting Pad