Archive for the ‘tech’ Category

el capitan

Took the plunge with El Capitan on a late-2011 MacBook Pro 13″ (4GB RAM and original HDD). Had concerns that the upgrade might need a SSD. But apart from some sporadic microscopic delays, all seems well. Yeehaa!

windows 10

Not sure why, but I don’t like Windows 10. But its hard to explain why, and it might not be even Windows 10’s fault.

  1. On-screen keyboard doesn’t pop up automatically for Firefox, but does for Edge (Surface Pro 3 in tablet mode). One assumes because Edge is an Universal App?
  2. Traditional Chinese keyboard doesn’t display candidate list automatically; you have to press down-arrow every time to see the complete list. That is 1/4 to 1/3 more keystrokes per Chinese character!
  3. Pressing the touchscreen for any action (e.g. close windows, ‘Ok’ button etc) has a minute but discernible lag, especially if you are used to an iPad. Two finger touchscreen scrolling is great though. Does this lie with Win10 or Surface Pro 3?

Or maybe I’m just a grumpy old man set in my ways. I will seriously mourn the day Microsoft stops supporting Windows 7.

windows update as metric

Its finally finished. Windows Update has been calculating which updates to apply since 9am. So that’s more than 6 hours to calculate – now comes the actual update part.

Fair enough, this is a fresh reinstall of Windows 7 on a relic of a CPU: AMD Athlon x2. But its desktop class and not RAM constrained.

I reckon Windows Update should be the real-world metric to assess how fast a system is. Sure, this way of measuring has a big flaw, since new updates are constantly available so updating at different times will produce different results. Regardless, it’ll still be a good-enough rough measure of how a system would perform for the average person using the PC in real life.

using a surface pro 3

I’m typing this using a Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover – on loan from work. Initially I had doubts about its ‘lapability’, but after using it tonight on the couch whilst watching TV, I’m convinced that it can work as well as a traditional laptop.

Coincidentally I spent about a half hour in the Microsoft Store frantically typing on one laptop after the other. None of them had a good enough keyboard in my opinion. The Type Cover I’m using at the moment is heaps better in terms of travel and key size.

However, the track pad on the Type Cover is quite small, and still not as responsive as MacBook’s implementation; using it to scroll puts my wrist at a weird angle that will no doubt cause problems in the future. But that’s when the Surface’s actual screen comes in handy – once I remember that it is indeed touch enabled.

All this prompted me to fill out the ThinkPad Retro surveys. Having used all these keyboards (MacBook included), I’m really hoping for an ultrabook ThinkPad that has the Trackpoint and the classic keyboard.


windows 10 calendar

Found this post at reddit that is tempting me to click yes to that ‘upgrade to Windows 10’ notification:

Anyway, jumping forward to Windows 10.. I noticed that the calendar app baked into Windows 10 will let you sign into iCloud, it will let you sign into a Google account, in addition to your account, so BAM! The Windows 10 calendar app is all kinds of awesome for the way my family and I use various calendars. I can finally automate all of them together in one spot. In my testing it syncs back and updates/deletes/etc on all of them correctly. I’m super happy about that.

So much so that I’ve contemplated going to Windows 10 NOW and not waiting for the July 29th public build – JUST because of that one feature. 🙂

One minor nit about that. The Windows 10 calendar app doesn’t sync the chosen calendar colors down from iCloud and Google, it would be nice if it did since I spent the time on those services getting them the way I want.

Anyone with devices spanning the 3 MAG ecosystems will appreciate how amazing this would be.

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!