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Monday, 23 December 2013

My Dual Screen Setup

For quite some time I've watched a student using an external monitor together with his MacBook Pro 13 inch. I thought to myself, that looks interesting... So I hooked up my MacBook Pro with a HD TV and found out that OS X Mountain Lion is very bad at multiple display.

When Apple introducing new multiple display done right in OS X Mavericks, I was very delighted. After a long thought, I've decided to make a dual screen setup for my office. I don't think it is crucial for my work, but sometimes I do feel that it might help a little bit. 

I've decided to get two external monitors instead of one. This is because I feel a little bit awkward looking back and forth between retina and non-retina display. It will be like... beautiful - ugly - beautiful - ugly... It would also makes my eyes tired of focusing back and forth (because the MacBook Pro is near and the external display needs to be further away to look beautiful)

With two external displays setup, I could clam shell my MacBook Pro and use those two external displays. No more problem with beauty and the beast, and no more problem with focusing far and near. 

In order to use my MacBook Pro in clam shell mode, I have to get a keyboard and a mouse or a trackpad. So I bought a Logitech K750 keyboard because am attracted with its solar charging ability. I hope there is no need for me to change its battery in the future. The setback, it would use up one USB port (which I only have two at my disposal).

Then I bought Apple trackpad because I've been accustomed with the trackpad on the MacBook Pro. Another reason I don't opt for an Apple mouse is because it uses a lot of battery, and it's touch functions feel a little bit unpolished.

Finished with the trackpad and keyboard. Now I look up for the monitors. Only to find out that it is quite expensive. Errkkk... I halted my plan for a month and rethink. However, I decided to buy them after all. Bought two of the cheapest 24 inch with HDMI. They are BenQ 2460.

Finally, what I need is a simple gadget to hold my MacBook Pro in clam shell mode. Browsed the net and it would cost me another USD50. Well, I don't want to waste that kind of money just for a holder, so I bought a set of book ends, taped it together and there I got my DIY MacBook Pro stand. It saved me USD40+.

So here is my setup.

Very happy with all the purchase and setup. Although it is not a dual Apple Thunderbolt display that I secretly wanted, the setup is sufficient. Now I can fully utilise the OS X Mavericks multiple screen function and be happy with it. Setbacks? Probable setback would be it consumes a lot of space. I guess you can't have it all.

Final note. There is still room for a Mac Pro behind the dual display. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5! The latest iteration of the Nexus series. This Google's flagship phones are made by LG, and it truly deserves the Nexus name. Like its predecessors, Google Nexus 5 is comparatively cheaper than almost similar Android phones. 

It runs a Android 4.4 KitKat operating system on a quad-core 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 processor. It has a 4.95 inches IPS LCD touchscreen with Full HD (1080p). For the price of USD 400, Nexus 5 can be considered as a top-tiered phone with a cheap price tag. 

Nexus 5's depth is only 0.34 inches and only weighs 4.59 oz. Which makes it thinner than a HTC One and the same weight as a Samsung Galaxy S4. The pixels per inch is quite impressive with a higher PPI  (445 ppi) compared to a Samsung Galaxy S4 (441 ppi). 

Nexus 5 is sturdier than Nexus 4, and packs a punch with all its internal specs. A fast CPU, with a 450MHz Adreno 330 GPU. This means it should be faster than a Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One which were run on Snapdragon 600 processors. 

Other specs are 2,300mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and supports the latest Wi-Fi 2.4GHz and 5GHz standards (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac). It also has NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and wireless charging. There is no slot for additional storage, but the phone comes with 16GB or 32GB of storage. 

All in all, Google Nexus 5 is a powerhouse. Like any other Nexuses before it, Nexus 5 is the best integrated phone with the Google Android OS. If you want to experience the best of KitKat, you can't go wrong with Google Nexus 5. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

4K Resolution, Do You Need It?

4K resolution is the latest thing in television and display technology. Unlike previous technologies, the name 4K implies to the amount of horizontal pixels shown on the display not the vertical pixels like people always thought. A 4K display has 3840 horizontal pixels (There is also 8K displays with 7680 pixels). 

Roughly it is like putting 4 1080p displays' pixel onto one display. The cramming of the pixels leads to having an ultra high definition, which is very very sharp. The differences might not have been noticed with naked eye if you're 2-3 meters away from the screen.

The 1080p has been a standard for quite some time now. Television and display manufacturers have to find a way to make people buy new TVs. Their previous lobby on 3D TVs was unsuccessful, people seems not very keen to wear a 3D glasses just to watch TV. Especially for people who have already needed to wear glasses to see, adding another glasses in front of them just not feasible.

cramming approx. 4 1080p's into one display

There were also no-glasses 3D technology being developed, however the technology only limits to several viewing point only. No company were ready to gamble on that technology, therefore they have to find another technology to show to customers.

Even though 4K might seem to be too much, I think that it will be a good technology to invest to, provided that you're going to buy a 50 inches or bigger display. However, do wait for 4K Blu rays (which allows 100GB storage), or else what you'll get is just and upscaled 1080p pictures.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Have you guys tried the bump app before? It is a file sharing app that lets you share files between smart phones. It started modestly as a way to exchange your own contact information between two phones, and grew until it can even share multiple files.

Among other files that can be transferred are social network pages (Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn), photos, other people's contact (with pictures) and even files in your smartphones that is 20mb and lower.

It works like magic. All you have to do is to turn on your Internet, may it be 4G, 3G or even Wi-Fi, and turn on approximate or precise location to make the transfer. Following is the video that might help you understand how it works.

With the new updates, now bump can also work with computers. You can now transfer files from a smartphone to a computer and vice versa. No more wires, bluetooth, IR (anyone still using this?) needed to transfer files between a smartphone and a computer. Here is an instruction video about it.

It's like magic. I was pretty amazed when I first tried to bump between phones, and left with awe when the first time I used it to transfer a phone to a computer. When I demonstrated to my friend on how it works, he said "how did they do it? how? how?".

However, after reading FAQs and everything, it all makes sense. Why didn't I think of it before. The app is very original and very very useful. It diminishes the purpose to add NFC onto a phone (unless you want to use NFC for payment of course).

Google has recently bought bump and bump CEO has announced the joining on 16 September 2013. I wonder what Google can add to the table. Perhaps Google Maps, Google+? Here are the links for those who wants to try bump. Android (link) and iOS (link).

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Apple Special Event 22 Oct 2013 Review

I have been busy the whole day. Just managed to watch the keynote from Apple. Almost all the things that I expected (link) to be launched on the day are there in the keynote. However some of my predictions were not quite right.

Things that happened:
  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks launch.
  • New 13" retina MacBook Pro with Intel Haswell chips.
  • New 15" retina MacBook Pro with Intel Crystalwell chips.
  • Mac Pro will launch by December 2013.
  • iPad Air.
  • iPad mini with Retina display.
  • New iWork and iLife.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks was launched, with all the features that Apple promised. It is available for free. I just can't wait to get my hands on it. I'm still halfway downloading it. Another 2 1/2 hours before I can get to play with the new OS.

There were also announcement of iLife and iWork that I don't care so much. It is a good feature, however you'll only get it for free if you bought a new Mac or iDevice. For someone like me, I won't get the iWork for free for the time being.

I was quite surprised when Apple didn't drop the thick MacBook Pro lineup once and for all. (There is one type of 13" still available for purchase). I was more surprised to see that iPad 2 is still on the iPad lineup! That is good, but I was hoping that iPad 4 is the one that should be a cheap iPad. 

I'm quite disagree with the "iPad Air" naming. It goes out from the convention, and it is not thin enough to be called an "Air". I didn't get my hands on the device yet, but I might retract my statement once I feel the lightness of the product.  

I realised that there is no touch ID available in the iPad lineup. I can see the reasoning behind that. It's just that iPhone is a personal device (thus privacy), while iPads are usually shared with other people, therefore it would be difficult to register everybody's thumb print in it.

Now, the new Mac Pro. Some says it looks like Darth Vader's ash tray. I don't hate the design, but I'm afraid someone would try to throw a paper cup onto it because they might mistaken it with a dustbin. If I have a lot of money, that might be my target just for the sake of wanting one. However I don't think I really need that much processing power. Sour grapes? I hope not.

Well, I think that rounds up the review for today. Don't forget to rush into an Apple store as soon as possible.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Retina-like and Touchscreen Combo

With all the advancement in the technology nowadays, a high spec computer can be sold to people affordably. Lots of things can be included into a laptop, and now almost all computer maker company has one. 

The shrinking of storage, the ability to sense human touch, the portability and of course the shrinking of the pixels even a 20/20 vision people couldn't differentiate a pixel. These technology, combined with Windows 8 touch control friendly user interface has lead to the born of the Ultrabooks.

Above 3 examples are the ultrabooks with retina-like display and a touch screen ability. They are among the best Windows Ultrabooks around. Several years ago, Apple dazzles us with MacBook Air with the machine's size. Nowadays, with all these sleek choices put in front of users, one would forget about a MacBook Air altogether.

In my opinion however, there is a oxymoronic features that these Windows ultrabooks offer. They are touchscreen combined with retina-like display. For me, these two features are great on their own, but not a good idea if they're combined together. 

Imagine a crisp no weird pixel visible screen, and then you put your oily or sweaty fingers on it to touch the icons. It'll certainly leaves a mark, and might even enlarges the pixel and make it visible to the eye. Well, that's just not retina to me. 

Yes there are a lot of material available that leaves no smudge on the screen. However, that usually left to a matte display, which again doesn't fit the purpose and enlarges and distorts those fine pixels. Well, these two technology just don't mix, not without some other new technology of course. 

This is another example of companies pushing technologies into consumers without thinking properly about the user experience. It's just not right. In my opinion, for the time being people should choose either one of the technology. Unless you don't care about smudges on a retina-like screen. Then, by all means, go and buy one. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Best Operating System For You

Which one of the operating system (OS) available is the most superior of them all? I can't answer that, because that's all depends on how do you want to use it. Each operating system has their advantages, and each has their own shortcomings. 

Currently there are several front runners in the OS race. IMO, they are, Windows from Microsoft, Chrome OS from Google, Linux from many distributions, and Apple OS X. Windows and Linux can be run from any x86 computers. While Chrome OS is basically can be run on its proprietary hardware, and same goes to Apple OS X. 

Microsoft Windows

This is currently the most used computer OS in the world! Its latest iteration of OS is the Windows 8. I have tried the OS, and it is very good for touch screens. It has been customised for the touch screens that it would be a disadvantage if you only have a mouse to navigate across the screen.

Windows 8 has the same interface as a Windows RT and Windows Phone OS. The uniformity looks nice, and it also plays nicely with each other. Microsoft should be applauded with their effort on reinventing their OS over and over again.

Basically there are a lot of good things in Windows 8. It has a nice and clean interface. I like the live tiles, It's easier to find your favourite applications. It uses less memory compared to its predecessor, Windows 7 and play a lot of games on it. Yes, the games is actually one of the main reason that the OS is still one of the favourite. 

The bad thing about it would be that it is a little bit sluggish when used for a long time (1 year +). It is expensive, and is not as smooth when run with a low end PC. Not having a touch screen makes you feel a little bit in a disadvantage. 

Google Chrome OS

The Chrome OS by Google is one of the new OS in the market. It is usually shipped together with a Google ChromeBook. These ChromeBooks usually very sleek and comparable to a Ultrabooks that many manufacturers offer. There is also a base Chrome OS that are usable on other x86 computers, and it is called Chromium OS. 

When Google first come out with the ChromeBook and Chrome OS, the price tag has been quite high. I have always thought that it won't last long in the computer industry. However, as many years has gone by, it is still here. I'm guessing  Chrome OS is here to stay.

For me there are a lot of good things about Chrome OS. It automagically connects with Google Cloud services. Just like a Chrome browser, Chrome OS also has an automatic update of the OS, so you're always using the latest version of the OS. The UI and design is very simple, sometime I think that I'm using a tablet instead of a computer.

However, just like everything man-made, there are some imperfections. From my point of view, Chrome OS is very shallow. It's just like an interface for the Google cloud services. Even the ChromeBooks comes with a high spec, you don't feel like you use all the resources to the fullest. It is like buying the best games rig, but all you play is Solitaire. 

Apple OS X

The Apple OS X was first developed to run on Apple proprietary processors, and then moved on to be run on x86 Intel chips. There are times where the OS took a lot of things from the BSD OS, but Apple has been changing a lot of it and make it their own. 

OS X came together with any Apple Macs. It can be run on other x86 computers, but you have to find or program your own drivers to use all your devices. Major upgrades are sold for around £20. Apple latest OS X is Mountain Lion (10.8), but the Mavericks (10.9) is coming soon this year (link). 

The good. Apple OS X has the best user interface, this might be because Apple has been very keen in designs and fonts right from their first Mac. It has the ease of use just like of Windows, and the programming friendly just like of a BSD and Linux. It's like the best of both worlds. 

However, there is a shortcoming, Apple OS X can only run on Macs, which is very expensive. It plays nicely with other Apple product such as iPhone, iPad, etc. but not with a non-Apple product. It is a closed source, so its a little bit late on repairing problems with the OS. 

Linux OS

There are a lot of Linux distributions. Picture above shown some of them. I have only used a handful of them. I've tried Redhat, Fedora, Mandrake, Mandriva, openSUSE, Damn Small Linux, Ubuntu and Kubuntu. There might some that I've forgotten but I have a fair share on using it.

I was a fan of Redhat, but then Redhat started to divide into two parts, consumer and pro, Fedora and Redhat respectively. So I moved on to Fedora and later to Ubuntu. Among all of them, I think the best one for consume would be Ubuntu, and I hope it will go on to be the best (for me).

The pros of the Linux is for programming. I think it is the best platform for programmers. It is open source, therefore it is quite good if you want the latest, out from the oven softwares from programmers all over the world. In Linux, you're in control of everything. By everything, I mean e-ve-ry-thing. It gives you a lot of control on what's going on, and you can monitor everything that is running in front and at the back.

The problem with a Linux OS is the installations. Not all people can install the OS on computers that have been preinstalled with other OS. Having the whole world programming for you is a double edged sword. You get a lot of programs, and that means a lot of updates too. It's like having to update almost every other day.

Another problem is, Linux distros are more focused on performance rather than energy consumption. You can run Windows / OS X longer on a laptop computer, but it won't be the case with Linux. 


All these 4 OSes are here to stay. They are either run by big guns of the industry or by big community throughout the world. If you want me to choose for you, I can give a little guideline.
  • If you like to play games on your computer or if you have to use a Windows only software, use Windows. 
  • If you have extra cash and would like to utilise the (Google) cloud services at its fullest, get a Chrome OS.
  • If you have a lot of money and like to have a beautiful and capable OS, use OS X.
  • If you like to play with your computer and you like programming, use a Linux (I recommend either Ubuntu or Fedora).
Having a virtual machine might also help, but we will discuss about it later in the future. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Windows 8.1 is Everywhere

I thought one OS update for a day is enough, but I couldn't overlook and not writing about the new Windows 8.1! Yes it's here now. The great news is, it is free for anyone who owns Windows 8. Just go to the Windows Store and download and upgrade.

There are a lot of special features available, and now the OS is more mouse friendly than the Windows 8. That is a good start. Customers is always right. Here is the video by Microsoft of some of the features in the Windows 8.1. 

Ubuntu Touch Released

Ubuntu Touch for smartphones has been launched. That adds to the smartphone OS race, and might add to more choices for the end users. Like its PC counterpart, the Ubuntu Touch is an open source, and supported by Canonical.

Some call it Ubuntu Touch, but on their website, there isn't any sign that the operating system is going to be called Touch. Maybe they wanted to steer away from confusion if Ubuntu for the PC decides to make a computer OS for touch.

Basically what Ubuntu is trying to do here is to combine the two gadgets that people always use, the smartphone and the computer. That is a good intention, but not many people know how to change their phone OS, and another setback would be, not many percentage of people really use an Ubuntu Linux.

The project can easily be killed if Microsoft could grasp the idea and combine their Windows phone and Windows computer successfully. Nevertheless, it is not a bad thing for Ubuntu to try the smartphone OS market. They're even a step ahead of Firefox OS.

For those who have Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4, why don't you try and install the new OS. This is the link. From the looks of the instructions, it doesn't look very difficult. Just don't forget to save and backup all your data, especially the original Android OS. It will come handy when you're bored with the Ubuntu Touch OS.

I just can't wait for one of these new OSes to become matured. Android has been around for quite some time, they should have be very very stable, reliable and fast but it doesn't. So somebody, let it Ubuntu Touch or Firefox OS should step in and show Google the right way to do it. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Apple Special Event 22 October 2013 Preview

Apple is going to hold another event this year. With a kind of lukewarm acceptance of its September event, Apple surely needs to up their gameplan and show a brighter future of their products and ultimately their company.

Rumours have it that this time they have to show some things that they've introduced during their summer 2013 event. On top of it, they are expected to release new things that is approaching the end of their life cycle. 

The things that they've introduced during the summer developer's event was Mac Pro, and the new Apple OS X 10.9 Mavericks (link). Those two are most likely to show up this time. People are also expecting updates to other lineups too, such as the MacBook Pro, iPad, iPad mini, displays and even Mac Mini. Apple ditches numbering to their products, therefore it is most likely that the new iPads will be called iPad and iPad mini instead of iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 respectively.

That is quite a lot. No wonder the catchphrase they use in the invitation is "We still have a lot to cover". MacBook Pro and retina MacBook Pro are more likely to get an Intel Haswell update. There is also a possibility that Apple will ditch non-retina MacBook Pro lineup once and for all. It is plausible, but might welcome boos from the audience.

The new iPad and iPad mini might get the Touch ID sensor just like the newly launched iPhone 5s. The iPad mini might also get a retina display, even though that might slightly add to the difficulty for the developers having to program for several sizes of iDevice screens. However, if that's what people want, I think Apple would follow through. 

I'm not sure about the displays and the Mac mini update. However I'm very keen with the Mac Pro update. I've thought (day dreamt) about the similar thermal design before, but never put it onto paper. Then I totally forgot about it. I hope the Mac Pro would be successful, not like their discontinued iCube.

I think that's about it. Now I can't wait for the release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks and the Mac Pro! What about you?

Monday, 14 October 2013

Top 50 Gadgets Briton Couldn't Live Without

There are a lot of gadgets developed through times. These gadgets have been there for so long that people has taken them for granted. I myself always thought that the most important gadget would be my smartphone followed closely by my laptop, and that's about it. 

Well I'm obviously wrong. Seems that people has managed to do a questionnaire, and now they got the results. Top 50 gadgets that Britons couldn't live without. What a surprise, smartphones and laptop computer are number 33 and 34. Let's take a look at the list.

Top 50 gadgets 

1. Cork screw / bottle opener
2. The optical lens
3. The zip fastener
4. The cigarette lighter
5. The light bulb
6. The vacuum flask
7. The telephone
8. The wrist watch
9. The gas cooker
10. The car

11. The ball point pen
12. The washing machine
13. The camera
14. The fridge freezer
15. The lawn mower
16. The vinyl record player
17. Radio
18. The elevator
19. Central heating
20. The electric iron

21. Double glazing
22. The vacuum cleaner
23. Air conditioning
24. The hairdryer
25. The power shower
26. The toaster
27. Television
28. The credit / debit card
29. The cassette tape
30. The vibrator

31. The calculator
32. The electric shaver
33. The mobile phone
34. The computer
35. The food mixer
36. The laptop
37. The mouse
38. The dishwasher
39. The DVD player
40. The electric kettle

41. Sat nav
42. Hair straighteners / curling tongues
43. The remote control
44. The compact disc
45. The internet
46. The microwave oven
47. The games console
48. The flat screen TV
49. The MP3 player
50. The tablet computer

Do you agree with the list? If you're not a Briton, what would be your list?

Information got from

Friday, 11 October 2013

DVI and It's Confusion

Technologies were made to help humanity. However, sometimes it can also brings confusion to the users. DVI is an example where the technology keeps on improving, gave birth to loads of standards and finally might give problems to end users.
There are a lot of DVI's, basically there are 5 types of them. These are the info about them.

  • DVI-I (Single Link) = Digital & Analog, up to 1920x1080.
  • DVI-I (Dual Link) = Digital & Analog, up to 2048x1536
  • DVI-D (Single Link) = Digital, up to 1920x1080.
  • DVI-D (Dual Link) = Digital, up to 2048x1536.
  • DVI-A = Analog
Well, that looks a little bit simpler. Now, what you have to do is make sure the display can accept the link and the kind of signal that you wanted to send. 

Even though there are reports saying that you can have a high resolution (2048x1536) using a single link with 85Hz, that is usually using a DVI-I cable where the display uses some support from the analog signal to fill in some blank spaces. Well, that's good engineering, but the easiest way to overcome this uncertainty is to go for dual link if your computer and monitor supports one.

With all the confusion in the air, the ones that come out with DVI came out with another present to add to the lack of certainty. Here comes DVI M1-DA (Dual Link + USB). 

The new one is basically the DVI answer to the new HDMI 1.4. Where HDMI 1.4 can support network signal, the DVI can support USB. They don't put network on DVI because you won't need a network-enabled monitor, but having extra USB on the monitor might help. However, by the looks of things, the connector for DVI M1-DA couldn't be connected to a normal DVI. 

Well, the DVI is a confusing technology. People doing DVI should've made their connection future proof before trying to make it as standard. Even so, DVI is still the best for a computer monitor environment. However, do opt for HDMI if it is for connecting TV, it is more hassle free and has cheaper connectors. We'll talk about HDMI later in the future.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Samsung Galaxy Round

Please do not change your display settings. The phone that is shown above has a curved screen and body. It is called the Samsung Galaxy Round. Samsung, voted as the best gadget company at T3 2013, has come out with this device days after LG stating that they will produce a curved phone in 2014. 

The phone will ship with latest Android OS, and is currently planned for South Korea only. It has a 5.7 inch curved AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display. It also has a curved body, but I wonder whether it also has a curved circuit board?

The Samsung Galaxy Round comes with some interesting features such as, tilting the phone a bit to show the date, time and some other information. They are also telling that you can skip songs and something like that just by tilting the phone a bit.

It might feels a little bit weird to talk using the phone, and to watch movies. But other than that, it is quite interesting to have a curvy phone. We'll be getting a lot more bendy gadgets in the future. Several bendy TV are already available on the market.

No exact release date for the rest of the world yet, maybe that will up to the reception of Samsung Galaxy Round in South Korea. Nice.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

OSX 10.9 Mavericks

Yes, another Apple blog entry. I wanted to make entries for this blog as balanced as possible. However I've been thinking about the upcoming OS update for the Macs, and feel like I have to write about it. Please bear with me, I hope that my upcoming posts would be something far away from Apple.

Several months ago, Apple has announced two operating systems, one for its mobile platforms and one for its computers, iOS 7 and OSX 10.9 Mavericks respectively. The iOS7 have been launched last month together with its new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. 

There are also rumours saying that Apple was channelling its workforce to focus on the iOS 7. Thus making the launch of the new OSX is going to be a little bit late. From the looks of things, I hope that Apple does not deliver an unpolished product to us consumers.  

There aren't a lot of things have been upgraded / updated from the Mountain Lion (10.8) and Mavericks (10.9). Most of them are not essential, they only just an added bonus. New features added to the OS X 10.9 are shown in the picture above. What are these mumbo jumbo? I'll comment each and every new features from the top. 
iBooks: I never used this feature on my iDevices, and most probably won't be using it in the future. Even though I like new technologies, I do like to read non-technological things on a real paper (made from trees).
Maps: I don't think I'll use my Mac for directions. I think this feature is just a waste of time.
Calendar: They have been changing the calendars bit by bit each time they upgrade the OS. So I don't think it would change as much.
Safari: Same as the calendar, Safari have been getting upgrades. They can update it even without releasing a new OS.
iCloud Keychain: Well, this feature is suitable for those who don't like to key in their password each time being asked. However, if I were to use this feature, I would use it with caution.
Multiple Displays: This feature should've been in previous OS after all. Users have been complaining about the difficulties with Mountain Lion multiple display for quite some time.
Notifications: The new notification feature new ways to interact with latest update. You can reply on the spot. You can also receive updates while being away, and receive updates from sites that supports it.
Finder Tabs: This might be useful because it can save some screen real estate.
Tags: Macs spotlight have been terrific and all. Adding tags onto the system might make it even easier to find your files. However, I don't think I would use this feature, because tagging take a lot of time.
Advanced Technologies: It's actually saying that the new OS will use less power than its predecessor.
I don't give much attention to the above mentioned features. However, to me the "multiple displays" feature is an important one. There are a lot of problems doing multiple displays on Mountain Lion. Only now they have do it right (by copying other OS). 

So, will OS X Mavericks be a good upgrade? My short answer is "No", unless you would like to use multiple displays and/or you're using a portable Mac where preserving the battery life is crucial. For others, you can stick with your current OS, may it be a Mountain Lion, Lion or even Snow Leopard.

Mavericks is rumoured to be launched between 22nd to 28th of October 2013.

-- update --

Many websites have been reporting that Apple has released golden master version of the OS X Mavericks. The version is most likely to be the release version of 10.9.0, therefore it seems like Mavericks will be available to public very very soon (15 Oct perhaps?). I'll set aside £20 for a piece of the action.

-- update --

Here is the OS X 10.9 Mavericks WWDC keynote.

Monday, 7 October 2013

MacBook Air 13" or MacBook Pro 13"

An acquaintance of mine asked me to compare between MacBook Air 13" and MacBook Pro 13". I asked him back, what is he going to do with the computer? What he actually looks in a computer? Portability or performance?

My short answer is, if you wanted a highly portable Mac, get a MacBook Air. If you wanted a high performance MacBook, get a MacBook Pro. Apple has been making it easy for their customer to choose between their computers. 
  • Performance + Portable = MacBook Pro.
  • Casual + Portable = MacBook Air.
  • Performance + Stationary = Mac Pro.
  • Casual + Stationary = Mac mini or iMac.

Maybe I misunderstood his question. Maybe he wanted to ask me to compare between a fully revved up version of MacBook Air and a base entry level MacBook Pro. Well, that is a different question. However, my answer remains the same. Casual = MacBook Air, Performance = MacBook Pro. 

This is simply because the CPU inside the models is different. MacBook Pros usually have a higher CPU speed than the MacBook Air. Other than that, the design of the whole MacBook is different. MacBook Pro can do more processing before the fan kicks in, while MacBook Air's fan will start earlier. 

This means that it was designed to withstand and dissipate more heat than a MacBook Air. Some of you might think that fan noise is not a big matter. However, in my opinion, doing things with a loud fan sound for a long period of time is not an ideal workplace environment. 

Now I just have to wait and see what is he going to buy from the Apple store. However I won't be surprised if I found out that his next computer is going to be another Windows machine. Those ultrabooks look very nice anyways. 

Thanks for reading my rambles.

Friday, 4 October 2013

HTC First Ever Quarterly Loss

Has has made a net loss of USD 100 million in three months to September. Some say that the company might heading the same way as Nokia and Blackberry. The launch of new products has so far failed to trigger a recovery for HTC.

In another report stated that HTC has lost 90% of its value in 2 years. It's not that it doesn't come out with great devices, it's just that the competition is too harsh. The Taiwan company came out with HTC One, a great and sturdy phone, comparable to iPhone lineups. 

Well look at it, the design is sleek. If I'm going to buy an Android phone, it's definitely going to be the HTC One. At first glance, it looks like a Windows phone, but who would've thought Android could look that beautiful. It also has a Beats by Dr Dre audio, a very welcome edition to a smartphone. 

Maybe its just a marketing mishaps, or maybe Android users has been stuck with the idea of Samsung is the leader in Android Smartphones. HTC didn't come out with a worthy competitor to Samsung Galaxy S3, and now they're paying the price. 

It is sad to see if this company going under. With Nokia has been sold to Microsoft, and Blackberry has been valued and might be available to be bought or merge. Seeing another technology company is not a very pretty sight. 

It's good to see several company racing and competing with each to be the best. It will definitely benefit users with all the choices of devices.

-- update --

HTC One named 'Phone of the year' at T3 Gadget Award (link)(link).

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Time Capsule 2TB and 3TB

My heart have been to and fro towards the Airport Time Capsule. The idea of seamless and automatic backup is very attractive. Working with all the important data, protecting them could be seen as crucial in my line of work. However the price tag has been pushing me back couple of times. 
Apple AirPort Time Capsule

AirPort Time Capsule comes with 2 sizes of storage, 2TB and 3TB. The former is £249 and the latter is £349. There is also another device, Airport Extreme which when connected with a USB hard disk can do what AirPort Time Capsule could do. 

The AirPort Extreme is £169, still quite pricey for a wireless access point. Another problem would be that AirPort Extreme only has one USB port, therefore you have to choose whether to connect it with a printer to enable wireless printing or the hard drive.

There is another messy way to use the Time Machine, that is by connecting a portable hard drive to the Mac you're using directly. However, you have to connect the wires each time you want to backup. Therefore doesn't fit the purpose of seamless and automatic update. 

I've read somewhere that you can also connect a Mac Mini (or any other Mac) with an external hard drive and treat that as a Time Machine location. That seems quite okay if you have a Mac Mini that you want to leave turned on all the time. 

There is another way (I think) that can work. Using a network HDD and connect it with the router. It might be usable by Time Machine, but there is also a possibility that it uses a different file sharing protocol that might block the Time Machine application to connect with it. 

I also read from the Internet (I hope it's not from Apple haters) saying that usually a Time Capsule only lasts for 1.5 - 2 years. However, I hope that is not the case. Or maybe they use it extensively with a lot of Macs all at once. That might also be the case.

So there are 6 choices you can make to use the Time Machine application.
  1. AirPort Time Capsule 3TB = £349
  2. AirPort Time Capsule 2TB = £249
  3. AirPort Extreme + External HDD combo = £169 + External HDD price
  4. Wired external HDD = External HDD price
  5. Mac mini + External HDD combo = £499 + Monitor + Mouse + Keyboard + External HDD price.
  6. Wireless HDD = £150 +/- (don't know whether this will work)
Well, that's a lot for you to consider. For me, I won't be using a wired solution because that goes away from the point of automatic backup. Because there might be a day when you are too tired to turn on the computer and backup. 

I won't buy the top of the range £349 and the Mac mini option because of the price tag. That leaves me with option 2, 3 and 6. Since 6 is not proven and I need to do some research about it first and update this post later. I really hope that option 6 is doable because if it is doable, it will be the most cost effective of all.

From the look of things, currently I'm more prone to choose the 2nd choice because the wire mess that the 3rd option might make. Well, let's look and see. I'll sure to update about this matter in the future.

-- update --

I have a good news and a bad news. The bad news is, as far as i know there isn't any wireless hard disk that can be connected to the network and work together with Time Machine. But the good news is, there are a lot of Network Attached Storage (NAS) that can be used with Time Machine. The price is cheaper.

So what you need is an Internet router, connect the NAS device using the LAN wires and setup your time machine. A 3TB NAS is around £130 and a 2TB NAS is around £100. However, please make sure it'll work with Time Machine before buying one.

I guess that is the best choice there is to utilise Time Machine on a Mac. It might not be an Apple solution, but still is a cheap and viable solution. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Playstation 4 vs Xbox One

Playstation 4 (PS4) and Xbox One. Battle of the consoles. These kind of battles have been since the early age where there are two or more devices trying to compete. These wars weren't fight by the manufacturer, it is fought by the users themselves. Web 2.0 and social media also acts as a new spark to further ignite the war.

I would like to try to be as unbiased as I can be between these 2 consoles. After all, I never get my hands on either of the consoles. So for the time being, all I can give is a preview of each console and which one is more likely to win the battle of the next-generation consoles. 

Microsoft, the maker of Xbox One, and Sony, the maker of PS4 has been fighting to get the limelight of the future of gaming. Both show the advantages of their product compared to the other's. However, neither has really won. Like previous console wars, people has come to know that these wars is not a sprint, but a marathon. 

Xbox One

Xbox One is the third instalment of the Xbox family from Microsoft. It is certainly the fastest, greatest and most powerful of the Xbox family, no doubt about that.  

It has a blu-ray player, 8GB DDR3, 8 cores AMD custom CPU running at 1.75GHz, 853 MHz GPU, Cloud storage, 500GB hard disk (non-removeable) and a lot more. In other words, it is several times better than current generation console. 

The Xbox One however does have a hiccup with their first announcement that Microsoft make. There are some features that the gamers don't like, were added to the console (such as always on, and game activation). 

There are also a time when Microsoft take back all the things that the gamers don't like and trying to win the popularity contest again. All in all, its first impression was a little bit let down and confusing. 

However, the execs of Microsoft have mended the problem, and now the console is ready to be in the race against PS4.

Playstation 4

The Playstation 4, as the name suggests, is the fourth generation of the Playstation family. Sony have been very careful about this console launch. They didn't launch late like the PS3, and also unlike the PS3, they put a nice affordable price tag onto it too. 

The PS4 comes with a blu-ray player, 8GB DDR5, 8 cores AMD Jaguar, AMD Radeon GPU, 500GB hard disk (user removeable) and a lot more. Again this is way better than its predecessor. 

There wasn't any confusion at the announcement. Sony's message has always been "this console is for gamers". It ticks all the right box for gamers. They've shown a lot of good things of the system. All the good things even overshadowed the fact that there won't be a free PSN network anymore. People have to subscribe to play online. 


As you can see, there aren't many differences between those two consoles. It is almost identical. However, I do find that gamers would like the user-removeable hard disk better so that they can upgrade it themselves. Most of the gamers won't upgrade, but they like to be given a choice. 

Same goes with the CPU, the AMD Jaguar in PS4 is an x86 processor, while the one in Xbox One will be a proprietary processor. Being a x86 processor, which is the same as the personal computers, gives a more promising chance that PC games is more easily ported to and from the PS4 compared to the Xbox One. However, proprietary processor sometimes comes with special extras, where it can do some instructions specifically for the system without interrupting other processes. 

The controllers of each console do take inspiration from their own predecessors. The PS4 Dualshock 4 has added a touch pad and some of the PS Move controls. The Xbox One's controller also has many upgrades inside it. Between those two, I do like the Xbox One more ergonomic controller, but I also like the touch control of the PS4 controller. Well I guess we couldn't have it all.

Final words

These two consoles are really similar to each other. If you want to decide between these two, the only way is to decide the winner for you is with their exclusive games. If you prefer exclusives from PS3, you're more likely to like the PS4 more. Same goes with Xbox One, if you like Xbox 360 exclusives more, you're more likely to like the Xbox One more. 

There are other things to consider too, such as the friends that you have on each console. Because games are always better when played multiplayer. Just consider these two things (exclusives and friends), and you can't go wrong (I hope).