Archive for the ‘tech’ Category

apple beware

The more I think about the Surface Book, the more I think Cupertino should be worried. Surface Book is a product for creative content producers, a market segment that Apple has led in both shares and heart. But a pressure sensitive stylus enabled tablet connectable to a discrete GPU base running a full desktop OS? That is a rocket – massive boost for Microsoft and aimed squarely at Apple.

microsoft game changers

  • Xbox One running with Win10 (around the 5min mark)
  • Hololens mixed reality gaming (around the 13min mark)
  • Band liftstyle device (around the 20min mark)
  • Lumia 950 & 950 XL (around the 31min mark)
  • Surface Pro 4 (around the 50min mark)
  • Windows Hello biometric authentication (around the 1 hr 13 min mark)
  • Surface Book (around the 1 hr 15 min mark)

But more than the parts themselves, its the sum that matters – the Microsoft ecosystem has just inched ahead of Google’s in cohesion and integration.

Still trailing Apple, but history has shown Microsoft to be dangerous in pursuit. And this time they seem to have garnered a bit of flair as well (c.f. VP Parnos Panay at the 30min mark).

Microsoft was always the consummate imitator – and this event shows how much they’ve ‘learnt’ from Apple. Game on!

A lingering question after the event: what does the future hold for all those OEMs?

real life benchmark

Shout out to this pretty cool site for benchmarks from multiple builds of real users. Thinking about upgrading my X220 with a new SSD, hopinh that it’ll give this trusty machine a new lease of life.

The Samsung 850 EVO 120GB is looking good!

IFA tidbits

Interesting stuff coming out of IFA in Berline this week.

  1. Beating Microsoft to release the first Continuum device, Acer Jade Primo. (But these guys really need to work on their stagecraft; the whole segment feels unpolished – and not in a cool way).
  2. If you are going to go big, go BIG! Lenovo’s almost 7 inch PHAB and PHAB PLUS sound crazy, but is it? Most large phones are no longer pocketable anyway, so why not encroach on a tablet’s territory with a built-in 3/4G radio? This could be the perfect mobile suite for some road warriors, if paired with a decent bluetooth headset (after all, no road warrior would want to look at a douche holding this up to their ears).
  3. I’m more and more convinced that stick-computing is all anyone needs at home (i.e. non-work usage; and even for work if all one does it on the web and the occasional Word/Excel/Powerpoint). What kills these sticks are processor intensive tasks like Windows Update. ASUS Vivostick with the latest Cherry Trail should go a little way to alleviate some the pain with the current Bay Trail devices, whether tablets or sticks. This sort of specs is perfect for my parent’s next PC.

not quite a chromebox, but good

Just installed Chromixium on an ancient XP-era Pentium 4 (but with Hyperthreading :D) PC.

The interface is slick (as you would expect from something that mimics the Chrome OS), and the performance seems solid enough (as you would expect from an Ubuntu core). The constant thrashing that came with Win10 on this box have totally disappeared.

The only annoyance (so far) is that the @ and ” are switched; so when you type one you’ll get the other.

This box could become a good backup terminal – or even for the kids!

stupid hp

Context: upgrading to Win7 flagged an unforseen problem – the HP LaserJet 1015 does not work with 64bit version of the OS. This in and of itself is stupid enough, but further stupidity abound.

Instead of providing a driver on its website like every other manufacturer, HP’s website simply offer the ‘solution’ of using Windows Update to find the driver. In this case all of this is moot because Windows doesn’t have the driver, because HP doesn’t supply it.

But even if the driver was available, why wouldn’t you just provide it on your website instead of relying on someone elses’s update feature that is notorious for being a bit of a hit and miss? I’m already at your website!

The solution, if anyone is interested, came from a forum post: install the LaserJet 3050 PCL that comes with Win7; its a hack, but its the only way to get this working without more frustration.

microsoft october event

This will be a key event for Microsoft, especially after writing off their Nokia acquisition a few months prior, as it’ll demonstrate the question: can Microsoft make a phone that is on par with the Surface family tablets and hence showcase Windows 10?

This will decide whether Microsoft can be a real player in the Ecosystem Era that Apple kickstarted.

And on a personal note, a high spec Lumia 950 XL with a dock that can run Continuum well may just become my future laptop. If I was Microsoft I’d give these docks away free with the phone – just to propagate Continuum.

windows update issue

Upgraded 3 XP-era PCs with clean installs of Windows 7 for a client yesterday.

One of the 2GB machine (Core 2 Quad processor – so a few years old) displayed a low-memory warning when it tried to apply the 136 updates. What was frustrating was that this was after about 2.5 hours of processing to figure which updates to download and apply, and about 1.5 hours into applying them (at the 124th update or something like that).

Another machine also wouldn’t go past 99% when downloading the updates, even after an hour of waiting at 99%.

Solution: Apply the downloads in batches (rather than in one go – which is very taxing for even brand new computers), but in a bit of a manual way.

  1. Stop the download, or the update; not by killing the process but by pressing ‘Stop’ in the Windows Update window. Windows Update seems to be able to handle interruptions.
  2. Shut Down the machine – and Windows will apply whatever updates it has already downloaded.
  3. Once the updates are finished (it’ll take a while if its a fresh install), change the Windows Update setting to check for updates in the next hour – and leave the machine on for a while for it to detect the next ‘batch’ of updates.
  4. Repeat.



screen resolution oddity

It befuddles me a little why people would want a mobile phone screen above High Definition resolution.

Even at Full HD – and many laptops arn’t even reaching that yet – there’s plenty of definition for the eyes to see, especially at the 5″-6″ screen size range.

Its not like you can multitask very well on these screens; nor is one likely to be carrying any media above FHD (you can, but storage is still a limiting factor even with microSD expansion).