Pokemon Go – love it, hate it or just don’t get it?

By now you must have already played it, heard about it, or seen people playing it. And even if you think you have not, chances are that you might have actually already seen people playing it. If and when you see people gathered in an area, but no one is talking to each other and instead everyone is walking around in a daze with their heads buried in their phones, then those are what I call Pokemon zombies – or simply people looking for Pokemon. (Read on, I promise I’m not biased.)

I’m not going to talk about what Pokemon Go is. There are plenty of blog posts and YouTube videos on the Internet that dwell into this.

You generally will fall into one of the following categories when it comes to Pokemon Go:

  1. Love it
  2. Hate it
  3. Don’t get it

I fall under category 3 (somewhat).

I don’t get it, but I get it.

I know it’s not for me. I tried it, but I simply don’t feel the appeal. Although, I do get the appeal purely from an analytical point of view.

So what is the appeal? Why has Pokemon become such a craze?

Nostalgia


Here is a sample Pokemon Battle

Pokemon was a popular cartoon in the 90s and the Pokemon Go game gives players a very similar experience as the characters in the cartoon. Personally, while growing up I would watch the cartoon every now and then, but I was never a big fan of it.

Players get to go around (literally go around, as in, physically move and go to different places – not just virtually) looking for Pokemon, they have to capture the Pokemon and sometimes these creatures will fight back and not want to be captured, once captured players can ‘train’ them and evolve them into better fighters and eventually battle with other players.

The game keeps things very close to the original cartoon and for a lot of players it’s a way to relive their childhood.

Primal Instinct

The game at its core is a scavenger hunt. We humans evolved from a hunter and gatherer society so there is something that just clicks, perhaps the game taps into our primal instincts.

Bang Wagon

Some people just don’t care what it is, but they are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon and ride the hype wave so to speak. These drifters will drift from one hype to the other and at the moment it just happens to be Pokemon Go.

Social aspect

The game has a social aspect to it as well. There are Pokemon Go stops where there are lots of Pokemon hiding, battle arenas, Pokemon balls to collect etc… I’ve heard stories about people being glad to meet other players. Friends get to talk about their collections and have group meet ups.

I have to admit, even though I thought it was silly, I did actually meetup with a few friends to go Pokemon hunting. (My justification is that I had not seen them in a long time, and it was a call of curiosity more than anything.)

I personally will take people walking around and hunting for Pokemon over them drinking, sitting at home, drugs, fights, vandalism  etc… If this game takes people’s focus away from negatives, let it be.

Physical Exercise

This might not work if you are driving top Pokemon stops and then driving back home, however, from what I have heard from a lot of people is that they are doing some serious walking. A friend even claimed to have lost 5 pounds in the process.

Why might people hate it?

But for those of you who love Pokemon, it might be difficult (very difficult) to see why people hate Pokemon Go.

Trespassing and Traffic Chaos

This has to be the biggest problem caused by this game. Sometimes Pokemon are hiding on people’s backyards, lawns, buildings and other private property. Needless to say, most people do not like strangers on their property.

pokemon warning- tresspassing
You know it’s a problem when a game tells you not to trespass.

There have been numerous reports on the news about people creating congestion at busy places like transportation terminals, business areas and parks. It causes interruptions and delays for people who just want to go home or get to work, and try having a relaxing day at the park when you have the entire park filled with hundreds of people walking around to catch Pokemon.

All this can be a nuisance, but it becomes dangerous when people start crossing roads on red lights, or biking and playing or worse driving and playing Pokemon Go. There was an incident where a Pokemon Go player drove into a Police car. People have hurt themselves in road accidents and even hurt themselves falling of cliffs – yes that’s right people fell off of cliffs hunting for Pokemon.

pokemon warning- safety
You know it’s a problem when a game tells you to stay aware of your surroundings.

Social or Anti Social?

You might see hundreds of people gathered in an area, but is anyone even aware that there is another person next to them, much less be talking to them. I was near The Living Arts Center in Mississauga the other night and there were hundreds of people walking around with their heads buried in their phone. It was actually an eerie sight seeing people behaving like zombies.

Addiction

Yes, there are people who have gotten addicted to this game. Some have spent hundreds even thousands of dollars on this game. When I was out with a few friends near a popular Pokemon Go area, I saw a couple of people angrily swearing at their phones in frustration. There have been reports of physical fights resulting from Pokemon Go!

Of course, addiction is not just limited to this game or just games in general. The key is balance! I know this may sound funny, but if you see your friends or family addicted to this game, you may need to intervene.

The Neutral

As I said earlier,

I don’t get it, but I get it.

For people who think Pokemon Go is stupid,… is it really? Yes, sure there is no “real” point to the game. People aren’t achieving anything by collecting these Pokemon, but isn’t that true for almost everything. What’s the point of collecting baseball cards? Or playing video games on your xbox? Or watching TV? Sure you can come up with reasons to support doing those activities, and likewise the people who are into Pokemon have their reasons.

For Pokemon players, be safe, be respectful for other people’s properties, don’t create traffic chaos for people who need to go to work or home.

Have fun, be Safe, stay within your limits, and once in a while, just put your phone away and talk to people around you.

That’s my take on Pokemon Go, what’s yours?

Bash on Ubuntu on Windows

Bundows

At Build 2016, Microsoft announced, among other things, that developers will soon be able to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows. If you are interested in this kind of stuff, then I know that you probably already know about this. I was stoked when I heard about this news about two weeks ago but I just did not have the time to blog about it, but now I finally do.

So what does this all mean?

It means that you will be able to run actual Bash on Ubuntu, … on Windows. I know it sounds like I’m just repeating myself here, but the news is that exciting and it almost sounds like it is not real. Many people in the past would have said that hell will freeze if and when something like this happens, and yet here we are.

This is not a Virtual Machine running Ubuntu! This is actual Ubuntu user-mode running on Windows. To accomplish this Microsoft created a Windows Subsystem for Linux. Microsoft has partnered with Canonical, the creators of Ubuntu Linux to make this all possible.

But what does this Really mean?

This is a sign of a ‘personality shift’ in Microsoft. This shows the openness that Microsoft has adopted. They know that to keep Windows relevant now and in the years to come, they need to make developers want to develop FOR Windows and develop ON Windows even if they might not be developing for Windows. We’ve seen this as a reoccurring theme from .NET going open source in 2014, Android app portability, and their recent acquisition of Xamarin.

But this news of Bash on Ubuntu on Windows by Microsoft, going as far as building a brand new Subsystem for Linux is HUGE! It took a while for this to really sink in for many people that I talked with – not that the technology was difficult to understand, but the fact that it was actually happening. It is a big deal – Linux and Windows coming together, open source and Microsoft coming together, Canonical and Microsoft coming together.

Actual Ubuntu user-mode means you will be able to run command-line tools like apt-get, sed, awk, grep, and you can even try Linux-first tools like Ruby, Git, Python, etc. directly on Windows.

This also means that web developers will find it easier to develop on Windows. Having the ability to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows will make it easier for Start-ups to choose Windows development machines, since most start-ups are initially short on cash and often choose open source software including Linux operating systems, eliminating the need to have separate Linux development machines.

What do I think of this?

If you have not already figured this one out, let me tell you, I’m going nuts over this news. I moved from Mac OS to Windows about 6 months ago, mostly because I believe that Microsoft is really going in the right direction and paving the way to the future with their HoloLens technology, Windows 10 Universal apps, touch screen capabilities for the Windows Operating system and much more. The one thing that I had always missed was the ability to run Linux commands and Bash scripts. Mac OSX is built on Unix so this was never an issue, but it was not possible to do that on Windows. An option was to learn Windows command line, which in all honesty sucks!

I have used Cygwin until now, and for the most part it does the job, but it still was not Linux. From time to time I run into problems with it, installing libraries and programs is okay – it works except when it doesn’t. But now with Bash on Ubuntu on Windows, I’ll have access to Ubuntu’s apt-get – this is amazing!

What is the Future of Bash on Ubuntu on Windows?

For now, Bash on Ubuntu on Windows is still in its beta stage. You will not be able to install it unless you are on “Windows Insider”. I personally will stick to Cygwin for now, until the stable version gets released because currently my main Windows machine is my only Windows machine.

In the future Bash on Ubuntu on Windows is sure to be a better option than Cygwin. Sure Cygwin has been time-tested but the Bundows (there you go, I just coined a new word) has the advantage of the backing from Microsoft and Canonical and it will be using the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Should you use Bundows?

Yes, and No – it depends on who you are. I would not recommend installing it on your main Windows machine, or if you are not willing to work with something that might not work sometimes – as I said, this is still in beta stage. Do NOT use it on production machines.

If you are a student, then yes, do it now. You should be trying to be on the cutting edge of things, trying betas and alphas, making stuff, breaking stuff, getting stuck and learning from it. In my teens and early twenties, I did a lot of tinkering with different operating systems and programs and that is what taught me so much of what I know.

How to install Bundows?

First you need to be on Windows Insider. You can start here https://insider.windows.com/
Your next step is to turn on or install Bundows: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/commandline/2016/04/06/bash-on-ubuntu-on-windows-download-now-3/

Surface Book

I was really looking forward to watching Windows 10 Devices event today. I knew the Surface Pro 4 was coming out and they showed off the hololens, the new Lumia and continuum in action which was really cool and I thought okay this is all great, but then I was surprised when Microsoft’s first ever laptop, the Surface Book was revealed. I was already pretty stoked and THIS HAPPENED!

“Holy Sh!t…. This is insane!” Are the exact words that I involuntarily yelled out around 59 seconds into this video while watching the Windows 10 Devices live event today!

This is a game changer! This is Microsoft’s first ever laptop, and what a laptop it is! If what Microsoft has already done with windows and continuum was not enough(check out my article on Windows 10) Surface book definitely pushes me over the edge. I Want a Surfacebook! And it comes at the most perfect time because my 6 year old Macbook Pro is now coming to the end of it’s life and although I love Macbooks, what Microsoft is doing with Windows10 and now with Surface Book is mind blowingly awesome!

Microsoft calls it “the ultimate laptop”. The surface pro showcases  a

  • 6th generation Intel core i5 or i7 processor
  • 13.5-inch with a resolution of 3000 x 2000
  • an integrated backlit keyboard
  • optional dedicated graphics card
  • 5 points of touch glass trackpad.
  • It weighs 1.6 pounds (728g)(am I reading that right?)
  • Microsoft claims that it has battery life of 12 hour1 for all day use
  • comes with a surface pen – the same pen works with surface pro 4

Pricing

  • 128GB  SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM: $1,949 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM: $2,199 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM / dGPU: $2,449 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i7 – 8GB RAM / dGPU: $2,799 CAD
  • 512GB SSD / Core Intel i7 – 16GB RAM / dGPU: $3,499 CAD

As you can see the surface book does not come cheap. But this laptop is for some serious work and of course as it comes with Windows 10 pro. This laptop is for content creators, musicians, video editors, developers, architects, engineers on the go.

The Surface Book on its own is pretty cool, but what blew my mind away was this:

en-INTL-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-SP02
Ya..okay so that’s a laptop. ..and…
en-INTL-L-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-mnco
What sorcery is this?en-INTL-L-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-RM2-mncoSnake hinges?

 

en-INTL-PDP0-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-P4
Makes me want to be an architect..

 

It separates from the base and becomes a separate device that you can use in tablet mode, or as Microsoft puts it, “Canvas” mode. It’s the size of an A4 paper.

One thing that seems a bit of confusing is that the Surface Pro 4 is supposed to be the device that will replace your laptop and tablet, and then they reveal the Surace Book. From my perspective, it’s a high end laptop that replaces your Macbook Pro, your tablet and to some extent your desktop because that is the exact thing that it does for me, and in fact I had been wishing for someone to build this devices for at least 3 or 4 years.

Now it all boils down to price…Am I willing to spend this much on a laptop? I don’t know yet, but I think if there is an ultimate laptop title, then it definitely goes to the Surface Book.

That’s my take on the all new Surface Book, What’s yours?

Please leave a comment below, share if you this article! And thanks for reading!

Windows into the Future

I have been wanting to write this article since I watched the Windows Keynote earlier this year!

I never imagined saying this but I believe that new the Microsoft Windows will be in the driving seat to shape the future of what operating systems look like. Engadget titled an article on it’s website When did Apple become the boring one? I tend to agree with that question. Apple has started to get  boring. In fact I am seriously considering moving back to Windows after being in love with MacOSX for the past 6 years. So why am I so excited about Windows ? One word…well.. two.. Windows 10!

Apple has Mac OSX which powers desktops and laptops and IOS which powers their smart phones and tablets. Google has Chrome OS which runs on laptops and desktops and Android which runs on phones and tablets. Microsoft has Windows for desktop, Windows for mobile and an operating system for Xbox. Most of these companies try to make their operating systems on different types of devices work together, but they are still all separate operating systems.

“10” to Rule them All

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 18.13.20For the first time, we will get to experience one operating system that will work on all (windows) devices. Windows 10 will work on laptops, desktops, phones and Xbox. Windows 10 will be the new Universal Windows Platform which will give a unified experience on all devices. ( One confusion I would like to clear out is that although Windows 10 will be working on all your(Windows) devices, it won’t be exactly the same. There will be 7 different version of Windows 10. I still think this is ridiculous as people often end up in choice paralysis. In this respect, Apple gets it right – one operating system for mobile, one for desktop/laptop and one for server. )

Microsoft is aiming to run Windows 10 on 1 billion devices in the next 2 to 3 years and to accomplish this Microsoft will be providing free upgrades to anyone who owns a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 device.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade.

Windows 10 Platform – A Developer’s Oasis

In order to make an operating system successful, it of course needs to be user friendly and robust to handle all kinds of situations, however, no one is going to use the operating system if there is a weak collection of 3rd party apps available to be used in conjunctions with the operating system. Microsoft knows this very well and that is the reason it has made sure that Windows 10 is an operating system for developers!

Web

Developers will be apple to publish web apps to the windows store. As the owner of a web development company  I cannot express enough how excited I am about this news. (Check out our services at Okinara.com or visit our Okinara’s Facebook Page. We provide end to end E-Commerce Solutions from development to marketing and hosting.)

Developers will be able to use APIs  to provide locally install app kind of experience for their web services. This can be used in very creative ways and is a win-win for developers and consumers.

.NET& Win32

An easy way to import  all existing apps to windows store and there will be an easy install and uninstall feature similar. This again is a win-win for developers and consumers. Consumers will not have to wait long for their favourite programs to be compatible with Windows 10.

Android – Java/C++

Android_robot.svgDevelopers will be able to reuse java and C++ code used to develop Android apps and for Windows. Windows phones will have an Android subsystem which will use android code and these apps will also have access to Windows-specific extras.

IOS – Objective C 

125px-Apple_iOS_new.svgDevelopers will be able to use their Objective C code for IOS and bring it to Windows. This is bold – Microsoft is trying to take a bite out of Apple.

 

This is great for developers and consumers. Developers will quickly be able to import their existing Android and IOS apps to windows, cutting cost, effort and time. Consumers will no longer be face with dreaded feeling of realizing that the app that they really want is available “only on Android and IOS” and would not have to wait for long.

In addition to that, there will be a single code that will run across all devices – this is huge! Apple developers need to code for Mac OSX and IOS, Google developers have to code for Chrome OS and Android.

There are bound to be some performance issues for ‘imported’ apps, but the ability to quickly import apps at least gives  boost to Windows development which will help developers quickly push their apps and updates to all platforms and can then later tweak performance after launch.

Store

There will be a more unified experience when it comes to shopping for apps across all your devices and as I mentioned above, even web apps will be available for installation. In addition, carrier billing will make shopping experience easier.

The Edge.

Edge is the name for the new Microsoft Internet browser. Microsoft ended Internet Explorer’s run and rightfully so. It was the stupid weirdo that no one liked. Most of you will try and run away from this new browser too, but I have a good feeling about this one, so please give it a try before you pass judgement. Check out my review of Microsoft’s new Inter Browser.

Cortana and Continuum

As a consumer I am most existed about Cortana and Continuem. Cortana is the Siri of the Microsoft world, but Cortana does a lot more than Siri. Microsoft is moving towards developing a true AI personal Assistant much like the Cortana from the Xbox Halo series. By studying they way you use Windows, the kinds of apps that you search for and use and your internet browsing habits, it will make suggestions for new apps and settings, news and more. You will be able to talk to Cortana and give it(…um.. her?) commands like “Cortana message Tim on Whatsapp that I will be late for today’s meeting” Cortana will then open up Whatsapp, search for Tim and send the message.

All this is great, but everyone owns more than one device and this is where Continuum comes in. You will be able to start and stop your work on any device and still get a seamless experience. All this looks good an ‘paper’, but will it actually work? I think there is a good chance that it will. Since there will be one operating system installed on all (windows) devices, and the code base for apps will be the same, the chance of this working is very good. We’ll just have to wait and see if it actually works in reality.

Microsoft is really getting in the driver seat when it comes to software technology with Windows 10. All this is really great, but is this cool or creepy?(especially Cortana and Continuum). Windows 10’s timing is perfect for me since, I am due for a laptop upgrade and I am leaning heavily towards Windows and Surface Pro.

Microsoft is also taking a leap forward with holograms and their HoloLens. I’m not going to talk about this, you can read more here.

This is my take on the upcoming Windows 10, if you like what I have presented for you, please like and share. If you notice errors, please do let me know as I am juggling between writing, developing and running and expanding my business.

If you have tips, or if you would like me to write about something specific that you like, please feel free to get in touch with my on Twitter, Facebook,  Linkedin, or contact me via my contact page.

You can follow Okinara on Twitter and Facebook to get web and software and general tech related updates.

 

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge: Next is Now or is it?

Source: Samsung Mobile Facebook Page.
Source: Samsung Mobile Facebook Page.

By now I’m sure you have already seen ” The Next is Now ” ads from Samsung. The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge is the biggest change to the Galaxy S series.

Samsung made amazing feature-packed phones that were comfortable in the hand and very functional but always lacked in the aesthetics department according to critics and consumers alike.

New Premium Design

Now with the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge, Samsung has geared to move away from the “cheap plasticy design” . The Galaxy S6 has been redesigned completely. Even the code name for the phone was “Project Zero”. The plastic is gone and it’s replaced with an all glass and metal design that honestly looks gorgeous and feels premium to the touch. I was a bit skeptical at first, but after using the Galaxy S6 edge for a week, I am beginning to love this phone. The premium design of this phone is everything.

Galaxy-S6-Edge-colorsThere are two version of the phone. Galaxy S6, which is the flat ‘vanilla’  phone that everyone is used to and Galaxy S6 edge which has a dual-curve display, the first of its kind.

The Galaxy S6 comes in four colours: White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, and Blue Topaz. The Galaxy S6 Edge will comes in four colours as well: White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, and Green Emerald. I personally find the Green Emerald the best looking out of all. My second best is Black Sapphire, which is what I have because the Green Emerald is not out in Canada yet – we might not even get it. Regardless of which one you get, they are all beautiful premium looking colours. I was thinking of getting the Note 4, but when I saw how beautifully the S6 edge was designed and how elegantly it reflected light, I knew I had to get it.

This is the first time I have picked look and feel over practicality.

It is mesmerizing to watch the light bounce off from the phone’s back and front(top and bottom). But the beautiful glass and metal design comes with some drawbacks. It feels smooth in the hand but it also feels a bit delicate. I have heard people say that they’re always afraid of dropping it. Even imagining the all glass phone slip and fall from the hand is a very scary. It is also very sleek and slides off even with the slightest incline on any surfaces. I have dropped my phone 3 times in the past 1 week already – not from my hand, but from the edge of a sofa, table and chair. I have to mention that the Gold Platinum colour is a fingerprint magnet.

The edge

Side by side comparison of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.  Source: Mashable.com
Side by side comparison of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.
Source: Mashable.com

The S6 edge and S6 are identical in terms of specs and almost identical in terms of software. The edge’s screen curves on both sides. It also costs a $100 more than the S6. At first I thought I am not going to spend a $100 on something I have no use for and even now it is true; the edge has no practical use. It is purely for aesthetics. There are some features specific to the edge but they’re superficial and gimmicks at most. The edge can display the time and news updates when you rub your finger against it and it can also act as a night clock – none of which I have any use for. You can pick 5 of your favourite contacts which you can swipe from the edge to call, email or text. I have found this useful, but it is definitely something I can live without.

So why did I buy the S6 edge and not the S6? The edge despite having no practical use, is just simply gorgeous to look at. It feels very different and novel in my hand. It’s unlike anything I have experienced with a phone. Sliding your fingers or thumb  to swipe right or left has that unique  hard to describe wow factor and is a joy both to the sense of touch and sight. The way objects on screen curve in from the edge or disappear into it is something that once you get a taste of, you will never want to go back to the plan flat screen – who wants that now? Not me. Videos also look better on the edge. It almost seems like videos are hovering slightly above the phone. It’s one of those things you have to actually experience it to know.

So is the extra $100 worth it? YES! I’ll be keeping my phone for at least 2 to 3 years and although I want functionality, I also want something that I will enjoy.

No removable battery, No mirco SD card slot – A no go for some

20150512_223133Before the Galaxy S6, Samsung had always boasted having in their phones removable battery and expandable memory with a micro SD card slot. But this meant that their phones had to be made of plastic so that people could easily remove the back which a lot of people found to be too cheap looking. I owned a Galaxy S3 and I thought the plastic back was fine and I say that it did look beautiful. I cannot say the same for the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy S5.

Samsung ads in the past even made fun of people who owned other phones without a removable battery calling them “Wall Huggers”, so the move to not having the option to remove the battery was a surprising one but it was something that Samsung had to do to make the S6 a ‘premium’ designed phone.

Even I was a bit disappointed and almost bought a Note 4 instead of an S6. What changed my mind was the new beautiful design, fast charging, better finger print scanner, awesome camera and built-in wireless charging.

The S6 and S6 edge comes in 3 sizes, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. I had 32GB on my S3 and never carried a micro SD card so I bought the 64GB because of bigger files for the 4K video and larger photo file size.

Battery life isn’t that great, I have heard from other people and I have experienced it myself, but the fast charging compensates for it…sort of. There is a Galaxy S6 battery pack too, although I haven’t seen it in any stores yet. I might find this useful as I always carried a spare battery with me.

Camera

Samsung phones have always had great cameras and the Galaxy S6 is no exception. In fact it has one of the best camera phones out there. It has a 16M rear facing camera with optical image stabilization,  f1.9 aperture for better low light results and a 5MP wide angle front facing camera which is great of group selfies. I have found the front facing camera to have a bit of distortion. The rear facing camera seems to have it too. You might not light it if you are too picky otherwise it can hardly be noticed.

Another great feature that hardly gets mentioned is double tapping the home button quickly launches the camera. It’s one of those things you don’t know you need until you have it.

Fingerprint Scanner

The S6 fingerprint scanner is ‘touch to authenticate’ and is a definite improvement from the Note 4’s awkward swipe method.

Wireless Charging

photograph by Kapil Bulsara.
photograph by Kapil Bulsara.

At first this was something I didn’t really care about until I started using it in conjunction with upload Camera roll to One Drive while charging.(check out my article on how One Drive can be useful “Home Media Server and Cloud – Plex and One Drive”  section.) Normally I prefer fast charging, but if I quickly want to upload my pictures to OneDrive, I just place it on the wireless charger and bam! I’m charing my phone and uploading photos at the same time.

Built-in wireless charging also means this phone is future proof. Check out my article on Current trends and possible future of wireless charging. 

Processor and Ram

The Galaxy S6 packs a Samsung Exynos 1.5GHz  octa-core and 3GB DDR4 RAM. That’s geek for “it’s insanely fast”!

Display

It’s a 5.1 inch 1440 x 2560 pixels (~577 ppi pixel density) Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. That’s geek for “super awesome looking screen” and frankly it is super overkill too. I doubt that anyone can tell the difference between that many ppi vs Note 4 or Iphone 6. But do I like it? YES!

So that’s my take on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. If you’re reading this, you might be wondering if you should upgrade or not. That’s a tricky question. I was always a function over form kind of person and this phone changed that. If you have an android phone that is older than a year or 2 years, I say yes, definitely upgrade. If you’re tied to the apple ecosystem and have an iPhone. This phone was designed to lure in iPhone users and I can confidently say most of you will be pleasantly surprised by the S6 edge. However, if you own a phone that’s less than a year old, my recommendation is to just wait at least a year. The new Iphone and Note 5 will be coming out this year. Finally if you are one of those people who need to get the latest and most cutting edge tech then yes definitely get the Galaxy S6 edge, it literally has an edge over every other phone,… in fact it has two!

Wireless Charging Wizardry

Every single day I come across new technology that amazes me. Some seem futuristic or even alien-like. Even common technology that we have today, that we so often fail to appreciate amazes me. Smart phones and tablets and laptops and cloud storage, biometric security scanners, search algorithms that give you exactly what you want, cameras, electric cars, planes, heart rate monitors, MRIS and just a whole lot more. What we enjoy today and even take for granted are things that even Kings of olden days could neither afford nor imagine.

Nowadays everyone has a smartphone or some kind of phone, a laptop and probably a tablet and possibly a fitness tracker or a smart watch. They all have batteries that need to be charged with wires that need to be plugged into the device and into the electric outlet on a wall. These cords are annoying, get tangled easily and some eventually get damaged and become unusable. One technology that will save us from this annoyance is wireless charging or inductive charging, which uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy from one object to another.

android_logsCurrently the fastest area of growth of wireless charging is in the mobile phones industry. Phones like the Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820 launched in 2012, the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, Droid 3 and Droid 4, the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6edge all have builtin wireless charging.

WirelessCharging_tableThis is just the beginning. Growth in this area of technology is not only rapid, but is also a necessity . Almost everyone has a touchscreen smart phone and they consume a lot of energy. Most phones do not have removable batteries( and now not even Samsung’s flagship phones). It is not practical to be carrying around a charger with you in fear of having your phone battery die on you.

Some coffee shops and restaurants have already started to offer wireless charing. Customers can simple place their phones on the table and start charing their phones. Soon furniture makers will have built-in wireless chargers. Ikea has already started this.

beb7d3a331eab86ed5011cab0b4c61faPhones are not the only devices that will have wireless charing. Laptops and tables are the obvious devices to follow suit. Dining tables, coffee tables, arm chairs, bed frames with small shelfs on either sides are also good candidates for builtin wireless chargers. Kitchen counters will also have wireless charging as phones will not be the only devices that will need charging.

powermat-wireless-charge-pad-in-chevrolet-volt_100335682_mPlaces where wireless charging could become common are of course airports so passengers can charge their devices while having a quick bites before hopping onto their flight, gym lockers where customers can simple place their phones in their lockers, jump in the shower, freshen up and come back to a charged device. One of the places where I am most excited to get a wireless charger is my car. Cars will surely start to get wireless chargers buitin. It gets frustrating when you are driving, the music is playing from your phone and suddenly the battery dies and to make matters worse you realize you did not bring your charger with you. Wireless charging will solve this problem.

As for the devices that will have wireless charging, the list will be too long for this article. All mobile devices will have wireless charging – phones, laptops and tablets. Game controllers, watches, electric shavers, and small kitchen appliances  are some of the electronic devices that will have wireless charging.

What I am most excited about is cars equipped with wireless charging. Let’s face it: in the very near future almost all cars will be electric. When you come home from work and park your car in the garage, special panels under the body of your car and the floor of your garage will make wirelessly charging your car a reality.

I have had my first experience of wireless charing with the new bold Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. It’s like seeing magic happen.

This is my take on the future of wireless charging – what’s yours? Please leave a comment below, like and share this post if you like what you see here.

The Stylus is Making a Comeback

‘If you see a stylus, they BLEW it’

-Steve Jobs

7986400732_4d90b1c2d1_zIf anyone had asked me a week ago, “When was the last time you wrote something with your hand?”, it would have taken me a long time to think of a time when I was actually writing with my hands. I recently got into handwriting for a few minutes a day and I also started sketching designs on my whiteboard which I had not used in many years instead of doing it directly in Photoshop.  I have heard many times that the act of writing something with your hand connects different portions of your brain and in doing so you retain more information and are more likely to follow through on what you write about.

However, now I am beginning to fall in love with handwriting again. So much that I am actually contemplating on cancelling my order for the Galaxy S6 and getting myself a Note 4.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-9024As you may already know the Note 4 uses a stylus with many interesting and productivity boosting features. You can easily write a note with S memo. You can do cool things like smart select to select text freely with the Stylus. Write on a screenshot or existing picture and do some doodling. A stylus mostly is thinner and more precise than your fingers and that gives finer control over what kind of strokes are applied to the image or document that you are working on. It acts as a cursor on the screen so you can do things more accurately. Taking out the S pen from its docked state fire up the Air Command to allow you to quickly start doing some work with your pen.

surface-pro3-pen-2Microsoft Surface, the tablet/laptop hybrid also uses a stylus.

The Surface Stylus takes things up a notch with the ways in which you can use it. You can click the top button to open OneNote. Double-click to capture a screenshot. The right click button acts like the right-click button on a mouse. Click it once in apps like OneNote to open a menu, to choose pen color, thickness, and other options. Microsoft on Friday confirmed it bought the stylus and display interface technology for the Surface Pro 3 from the company that made it. This signifies a big win for the stylus.

Other tablets that use a stylus are the Lenovo ThinkPad 10, Asus VivoTab Note 8, Toshiba Encore 2 Write, Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2HP Slate 7 Extreme.

Not only that, it is rumoured that Apple’s new iPad will also use a stylus. Steve Jobs was strongly against the use of a stylus and even said

“if you see a stylus they blew it.”

“Who wants a stylus? You have to get ’em, put ’em away, you lose ’em. Yuch! Nobody wants a stylus. So let’s not use a stylus.” – Jobs said while introducing the iPhone

“God gave us 10 styluses. Let’s not invent another”  Jobs said about the stylus, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography.

So if the rumours of the iPad getting a stylus is true, it is definitely a big deal! The stylus is really making a come back!

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways You Can Capture Moments In Your Life

Have you ever felt that your life is moving too fast? Or perhaps you are at the other side of the spectrum where you feel that life is moving too slow. Have you had those moments in life that you wish to remember over and over again? Are there moments in life that you could have forgotten, but you didn’t because there was a picture that captured that moment, or perhaps you wrote something on a piece of paper, kept a receipt or a souvenir that takes you back in time to experience some memorable part of that your life.

We live in a world of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, Four Squares and much more that allows us to share every moment and every aspect of your lives, not to mention Twitter’s new app called Periscope which allows you to live-streaming video directly from your phone.

But I’m not going to be talking about sharing your moments. I want to give you some tools to help your record moments in life, you may of course chose to share them.

Phone Camera

Samsung Galaxy S6 review (20)-970-80Virtually every phone has a camera. Some of them take pictures better than some DSLR of yesteryears. You have your phone with you at all times so if something happens that you would want to remember just take your phone out and take a snap or take a video. We’re in such a photo snapping epidemic that Samsung has put a quick launch feature in their latest smart phone the Galaxy S6 – All you need to do is double press the home button and bam!

I know I really shouldn’t even be talking about all this since it is such a basic way of life now. But remember you don’t need record moments only for the purpose of sharing. When you start recording videos and photos to capture moments in life for yourself you will start to deviate from fluff and random acts of “importance” to moments that mean something to you, and sometimes only to you.

Action Camera

Gopro-Hero-3+-Compared-to-PalmThe action camera market has seen an astonishing boom mainly thanks to the GoPro brand. These camera’s(GoPro, Sony’s Action Cam and others) are small, light weight, most of them are waterproof and with a wide angle lens. You can mount these cameras on your chest, on your bike, hand, car, your head and the possibilities are endless. You might be thinking that this is just another camera. How is this different phone a phone camera? Phone cameras are mostly classed as point and shoot cameras where as action cameras are mostly POV(point of view cameras).

Evernote

186tgj38eph2cjpgEvernote is a tool designed for note taking and archiving. A  “note” can be a piece of formatted text, full webpage or webpage excerpt, photograph, voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. You can organize those notes into sets of notes called notebooks and organize them in different categories called tags. Once a note is saved, it is synced to the Evernote cloud and from there it is synced to all other devices that have Evernote installed. There are other tools out there that let you record notes the way Evernote does, however Evernote’s ease of use and search functionality is something that is yet to be beaten. 

Voice Recorder

If you are one of those types that retain memory better with audio instead of visually or kinaesthetically then you can carry with you a voice recorder. I know that some of you may be wondering: “…but does my phone not have a voice recorder?” . Yes phones do have voice recorder apps, but none of them so far are as good as an actual portable voice recorder machines. Dedicated voice recorders are faster with better quality and you can easily play back your recorder voice.

Old School Notebook

7986400732_4d90b1c2d1_zSometimes all the high tech gizmos just does not quite cut it. Some may feel that all these gadgets lack the feeling of authenticity. If you are one of those, you can carry a small notebook and pen with you. The feeling of hand written notes sometimes says more than a picture which is believed to speak a 1000 words, especially now that hand written notes are simply considered archaic by most.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-9024If you are someone who cannot or don’t want to keep a physical notebook and want to avoid the use of paper, not to mention the finite number of pages a notebook has to offer, but at the same time want the joy of keeping hand written notes, then the Samsung Galaxy Note is for you. Note 4 is by far the bsst phone with a stylus. In fact as far as gadgets go the Galaxy Note is the best single device you will need to record almost every moment of your life. It has a camera, Evernote and a pen that is surprisingly accurate(on the Note 4 at the time of this writing) to jot down notes.

In spite of what I have said in this article, I leave you with something that left me in awe when I first heard it. There is a scene where Sean O-Connell who has been waiting patiently to capture a photograph of the illusive “ghost cat”, the snow leopard has a conversation with Walter MItty in a scene from the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?
Sean O’Connell: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.
Walter Mitty: Stay in it?
Sean O’Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.

— The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Microsoft Edge

4354719-7527510961-41164Microsoft seems to be using a lot of Halo game elements in Windows desktop and mobile phones. For e.g. after the end of Internet Explorer the new Internet Browser was codenamed “Spartan”. Then there is Cortana which is the name for the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator, much like Siri for IOS, but for Windows Phone 8.1 and now Windows 10. Cortana is also the name of an Artificial Intelligence character in Halo games.

e1.0It was finally revealed this week that the official name for Project Spartan is Microsoft Edge. It seems like the “edge” is getting prevalent with underdogs trying to get an edge over their competitors. Samsung’s new smartphone code named “Project Zero” has an ‘edge’ in it’s name and it also literally has an edge… or two in this case. Microsoft’s “Edge” on the other hand is the absence of edge in the browsing experience.

Microsoft desperately and amazing enough, confidently wants to rebrand its Internet Browser as can be seen from this Microsoft Edge Promotional Video.

The browser has always been a window into the world. We all looked out and saw amazing things. It’s time to open that window and blur the edge between consumption and creation between the universal and the personal, between standing still and moving forward. Introducing  the browser that defines the edge of today and turns browsing into doing. ..

If someone told me last year or even a week ago that I would be getting excited about Microsofts’ Internet Browser, I would have kick them in appropriate places. But quite honestly, Edge and Windows 10 and everything that Microsoft is doing has really got me excited, something that I have not said in many years. The logo itself seems to be re-born from the ghost of the Internet Explorer past but with a cooler edgier look.

Microsoft Edge will be the default browser on Windows 10. It will be heavily integrated with Cortana. As you can see in the screenshot below, it shows you the top sites visited, featured apps from the Windows store, weather details, and sports updates and other news article links that are of importance to the user all on the default home page .

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 18.33.30

It picks all of this information up from Cortana which is heavily integrated with Windows 10 on the desktop and phone (Dedicated post on Windows 10 coming soon.) From the keynote, it seems that Cortana will truly act as  AI Personal Assistant and give suggestions by learning your desktop and phone and browsing habits and help you search what you are looking for by taking voice commands.

Microsoft Edge will also allow developers to create extension for Edge much like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. According to the keynote developers will be able to import extensions from Chrome and Firefox that use standard HTML and javascript “with just a few minor modifications”.

Now that is all the good promises that Microsoft is giving. What about the actual user and developer experience? One thing that I have learnt is that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually quite positively excited about this new direction that Microsoft is taking, however from experience and this is not just my experience this is the experience of every web developer that has ever utterly painfully laid their fingers on coding specifically for Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s Internet Browser provides nothing but a reason to hate the very core of it’s browser  – each and every iteration of Internet browser.

I can only hope that this time it is going to be different and I have a feeling that this time it will be different – different for the better.

Only time will tell whether this is good news for web developers or not and if developers are happy so will the end user be happy.

That is my take on Microsoft’s new Internet browser, Edge. Of course I have not had a first hand experience with Edge, but when I do, I will be posting my thoughts on it. I will soon be writing on the key elements of Windows 10 and a in-depth review of the Samsung galaxy S6 Edge.

Free Your Mind

Have you ever experienced writer’s block, or had a lot of information but didn’t know how to organize it, found it difficult to break down what you were going to say in your public speak, had difficulty organizing a shopping list or to do list?

Free_MindI know I have had those moments too. To over comes those moments of frustration even before they begin, I free my mind with a program called Free Mind. FreeMind is a free mind-mapping software.

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank landscape page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.[source: Wikipedia ]

The great thing about Free Mind is that it is 100% free software and open source software, licensed under GNU GPL V2+ (GNU General Public License) Basically, that means that you are free to use FreeMind to whatever purpose you want without paying for that, and that any code derived from current FreeMind’s code must also be licensed under GPL V2+.[Source: http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page]

Here are a few screenshots so you can see what a Free Mind document generally looks like:

800px-FreeMind-computer-knowledge-080 800px-FreeMind-freemind-development-080 800px-FreeMind-learning-german-080 800px-FreeMind-my-health-080

 

I have used other mind mapping programs but Free Mind is my favourite. There are other programs out there that save to the cloud, have flexible nodes and some are aesthetically very pleasing. The reason I choose Free Mind is because:

Multiplatform

The software is built in Java so it runs on just about anything. It works on Windows, Linux and Mac.

Universal

The file format is universal. Every mind mapping program out there will import a free mind (.mm) file, but not the other way around as most other programs have their own formats. 

Rigid

The node branches are rigid meaning you cannot move them around in space the way you like. Note: you can move the actual nodes around to different branches but the branches don’t stretch or shrink.  For some this constraint would be more of a con than a pro. I on the other hand like it because it keeps things organized and plus it forces me think in a modular fashion and for that to happen I need to understand the information that I am jotting. I have used other programs(free and paid) that give you the flexibility of moving the nodes around with a flexible stretch branch and although this freedom of movement may seem like a great thing at first, but when it comes to getting the actual work down I think it can be very counter productive. 

Multiple Uses

Although this is true for most mind mapping programs, I still feel the need to mention it for those who may be new to the idea of mind mapping.

  • Keep track of projects including tasks, subtasks, priority level using icons and colours 
  • knowledge base – you can have multiple mind maps interconnected with other mind maps and store information in nodes or link to actual files such as images, word documents, excel sheets etc..
  • essay writing and brain storming – you can quickly jot down ideas that you have in a brain storming session and then easily move the modes around and create topics and subtopics to bring structure to your fictional or non-fictional writing
  • A shopping list or a ToDo list – Once you start using mind maps instead of a flat list you will never want to go back to boring ToDo lists.
  • Database – you can organize information about clients, about collection of antique items which you can categorize, keep inventory of your valuables…etc..

Features

  • export to HTML, image formats(PNG, JPG, PDF etc…)
  • visually format the nodes and branches for better readability. There is even an auto-format feature which I use all the time and it works surprisingly well.
  • it’s an open format meaning there is no risk to committing to Free Mind in the beginning and then changing to a different program because it uses XML which can be imported into any other mind mapping program.
  • FREE!
  • use graphical links(lines with arrow pointers) to link nodes
  • link to other Free Mind maps and other files like Word, Excel, image files or any other file on your computer

Other Mind Mapping Programs

You may also want to try out these mind mapping programs to see which one fits your specific needs.

  • Mind Node  –  by far the most beautifully designed mind mapping program out there. The only thing that keeps me from using it is that it is only for Mac OSX and IOS. 
  • Mindjet – for serious business use, is more than just mind mapping software—it’s a total suite of applications and tools designed to help you and the people you work with brainstorm, stay on top of projects, collaborate on tasks, and stay organized together.
  • XMind – like Mindjet this is again for serious business use. There is a free version with some of the advanced features lacking, but it gets the job done. XMind is also one of the more popular mind mapping programs.

That’s my take on freeing your mind with mind maps. Please share, like, tweet, retweet if you like this post. Also leave a comment below.