This is the one: Smartphone edition #2 (review)

After 6 weeks with my Mate S, it’s time for a quick review. I’m using it as my company phone, which means my company sim is in it, not my personal sim. This means that I don’t have Whatsapp on it. Otherwise, I have moved all the functions I used my old phone for to this one.

Basic specs:

  • 5.5″ AMOLED 1080p screen
  • Gorilla Glass 4
  • Quad-core @ 2.2 GHz & Quad-core @ 1.5GHz
  • Mali-T628 GPU
  • 32GB + micro sd
  • 3GB RAM
  • 13MP rear camera with dual-LED flash, 8MP front camera
  • Android Lollipop
  • 2700 mAh battery (non-removable)
  • Extras: Fingerprint sensor, flip cover included in box

The phone is very thin, compared to what I am used to, and very nice to hold. I would have preferred the dual sim variant, so I don’t have to carry my personal phone around as well, but unfortunately my network does not offer it. That’s also the variant with 128GB onboard and Force Touch 😥

I have the Mystic Champagne variant, which is a welcome change from the black Lumia. The included flip cover was a nice touch, but I’ve always hated those, so I only used it until my perspex clear cover arrived from Amazon. The box the phone arrived in had a premium look and feel – even the earphones came in a matching colour in its own little perspex box.

The phone is fast, lagging occasionally when I open the dialer (for some reason). Battery life is generally good – I can get through a full 24 hours without having to charge. The fingerprint sensor is very accurate, and I love being able to unlock the phone using this method. It’s also useful for taking photos.

On that note, coming from a 41MP behemoth which couldn’t function correctly because of the stupid, stupid OS, I had high hopes for the camera. These hopes were almost immediately crushed. Yes, the camera takes some nice shots in perfect sunlight. That’s about all I can say for it.

The Emotion UI over Lollipop has yielded a better Android experience than my previous go-around with TouchWiz over Jellybean. However, it did not take long before I relented and installed a WP launcher to get my Live Tiles back (miss you!).

Now on to the real story: apps. I have ranted about apps many, many times on this blog, and why I really don’t need them blah blah blah. That of course was my Stockholm Syndrome talking, because I love apps now, seeing as they actually work.

I didn’t know it would be such a relief to have fully functional apps for Feedly, LinkedIn, HERE maps, 22seven and all my fave online shops. Don’t get me started on the excellent quality of the Microsoft apps on Android when compared to the piles of garbage on their native platform. I’ll write up a separate post on how I am using apps now to GTD daily.

Overall, I’m glad I chose this phone. I dropped it for the first time yesterday and I nearly lost my mind because one of the few things I miss about my Lumia is the sturdiness. If I drop this phone on its face, I’m pretty sure it will be tickets.

Like I said earlier, I am still carrying the Lumia because it has my personal sim in it. It makes me sad everyday to have to work on it after using the Huawei.


What’s happened to MyBroadband?

I started writing this post in October last year, but the point I am making is even more pertinent today. I took this screenshot back then:


This is a screenshot from today:

Untitled picture

The focus has shifted from serving the computer nerds who made the site big, to a more mainstream vibe, sort of like for those family members who don’t know how to turn it off and on again.

Obligatory IT Crowd meme

I wouldn’t mind it that much if it weren’t for the clickbaity article titles. Lately I’ve just been scrolling down the main page to get to the forum posts.


Minority Report: 13 years later, years ahead of its time

Over the weekend I finally sat down and watched Minority Report. It’s a movie that’s constantly referenced all over the internet, so the fact that I managed to avoid all spoilers for it (and the fact that it’s 13 years old) is amazing. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen all the time.

I should probably be ashamed to admit that the only reason I watched it now, despite me always liking Tom Cruise movies specifically, and futuristic sci-fi movies which don’t involve aliens or have the word “star” in the title in general, is because of the series. I didn’t want to watch the pilot without having seen the movie.

I did enjoy the movie a lot, especially the references to tech which is now commonplace. I was surprised to find out it’s set in 2054 though, because apart from the self-driving cars, everything else looks pretty much the same.


This is the one: UPS edition (review)

I’ve been using a UPS on Tangytop and my router for a while now, so it’s about time I reviewed it.

I set up the UPS by completely ignoring the instructions and just putting plugs in. I didn’t bother making it neat either.


That’s the router plug, power source for Tangytop and the phone line. Yes, I don’t think that looks safe either.

After taking out the CD to install the monitoring software, I remembered I didn’t build an optical drive into Tangytop because seriously, do I need to explain that?

To my chagrin, I had to Google how to access the optical drive in my laptop from the server. To my immense embarassment, it was as simple as sharing the DVD drive, like one would share any network drive. I just assumed it would be difficult, because Microsoft.

Once I had the software installed (Java based SMH), I opened it up. It uses a browser based interface, which is slightly irritating. I created a login and fiddled with the settings a bit, but I didn’t really change much (only turned the beeping noise off). The diagram indicated the UPS was at 6% load, which did seem a bit low, but I don’t have much going on in Tangytop, and the router doesn’t draw much power either. The screen is connected, but it’s off most of the time anyway.

Naturally, now that everything was set up, we didn’t have load shedding for another week. When the power went off, I eagerly went to check on my contraption, only to find it was completely dead. It just went off, taking my server and router with it. Some strong words crossed my mind as I brooded over the next 2 hours.

Fortunately (unfortunately?), load shedding hit again 2 days later, so I could my second test. Only the router was on at the time, and it lasted for the entire session. Annoyingly, because it had died completely the first time, it reset all the changes I made, so it beeped for 2 and a half hours. I didn’t care that much though, because INTERNET.

For the third test, I had Tangytop switched on as well. This time, the UPS lasted 1 hour 15 minutes. By my totally unscientific calculations (based on how long other people said their stuff lasted on this UPS), I figured that it should last the whole session with the server and the router on. Clearly, I was mistaken.

Again, I didn’t really care that much, because as long as the router can stay on and I can actually use the ADSL cap that I pay for, I’m happy. I also forgot the password I set for the monitoring software, so I’m going to have to reinstall that at some point. I don’t particularly want to, because Java hogs the CPU like it’s the only thing in the world. I’m just ignoring the beeping in the meantime.


This is the one: Heart rate monitor (review)

A big part of why I ended up choosing the Vivofit was because of the easy integration with the Garmin Heart Rate Monitor.

After a few months of using it, the HRM has performed well. I think that’s also due to my choosing to get the premium heart rate monitor belt to match.

I’ve noticed after software updates to the Vivofit that the HRM does not sync so well with it afterwards. There was a phase where it undercalculated (?) my bpm (through anecdotal observation). For example, I’d be punching the bag hard and I can feel my heart racing, then I check the Vivofit and it says I’m doing 130bpm, like it’s a medium-paced stroll or something.

Those type of incidents don’t happen too often though. Using the HRM has really helped me push through my exercise sessions, and to constantly keep the body guessing with HIIT.


This is the one: fitness tracker edition #2 (review #2)

This is the first time that I’m doing a second review of a device (since I barely even manage to do proper first reviews), but I am agitated enough to write this.

On Monday, my vivofit decided to forget my steps. I synced multiple times (syncing problems with the Garmin software aside), but it was like I never walked at all.

It’s Thursday now, and the steps just haven’t appeared. The same goes for my activities from my heart rate monitor for Monday and Tuesday evening. Even though the vivofit was clearly recording, the data did not sync to Garmin Connect.

What’s surprising is that all my steps for Tuesday was synced, and my sleep data, but not the activity data. Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhyyy

I am driven by these numbers. They are my primary source of motivation. It annoys me that after forking out good money for this thing, that Garmin knows about these issues, but apparently does not care.

As things stand now, I will probably only make use of this device until My Epic Revamp is complete. When I’m in maintenance, I won’t need to be so obsessive about these numbers any more. I’m sure there will be better devices appearing by that time.