Communication and power – do not ever be without them these days…

This is very true in both literal an practical sense.

I still remember the time when mobile cellular technology began its life back in the 90s. Conversation between a husband and a wife – wife at home and the husband doing shopping for her – err what colour is it… there is this one which is very soft and rubbery, green is it ok?….a minute later he called again. And it repeated over a few times. At that time, we saw this as a total waste of time. But these days, it is a normal scenario people do not make fuss about anymore. And the communication is now further enhanced with the brilliant photographic abilities of the smartphone and all those instant chat apps that has become indespensable whether at family level, socially or even for work. Communication is never better.

One of the bottleneck is the power. Most smartphone, despite the advanced lithium technology do not go beyond 24 hours, of course they can last longer in standby or off-data mode, but then that’s not what they are for! Most people spend their days staring at the screen of their smartphones almost all the time, and you could be one of them. Amazingly, such a previously an abhorrant behaviour is now becoming an acceptable way or even necessity, for example some people do their works merely by skimming through and replying whatsapp!

Anway, my point today is how to ensure you do not run out of power. Yes, bring your charger, or better a large capacity powerbank. Most people do, in fact very few who don’t, and they could end up miserable or looking like a fool, when they were needed on the other end and not available, lame reason given – phone is dead! No, this is no longer an acceptable excuse these days.

So today, I left the 3 kids at home, to join the convoy to Cameron Highland (?again), well this time we got an important mission to set up the continuous education and training – usrah for the members of the organisation, I joined mainly for the interest in ride and helping the number.

Since the wife was away, I have to rely on the big brother to take care of the two young ones. The sister, Nawal got a horse riding class later in the evening, somewhere far away at Denai Alam. Harith will be driving them, a good chance he is going to need the GPS apps, using his own phone. So, in order to ensure he does not run out of power in the middle of navigating, I gave him a loan of my own powerbank. This is an awesome 10,000mA powerbank which I got for free from the company, could charge my phone at least twice, more for the iPhone.

Of course I need one for myself. I was sure I could use the big powerbank cum jump starter kit (used to power up car or motorcycle when the battery run flat). It so happened Harith borrowed the jump starter in the morning to rescue his friend’s car. Following the usage, I recharged, thoug fairly briefly, since I had to rush out for the journey shortly.

I only found out later in the evening, when I was about to charge my phone, that the powerbank cum jump starter was flat! I was baffled. Yes, it happened before for reason I did not understand. This powerbank is a bit different than the normal one, coz once you used it to jump start a car (or bike), it will drain out the power completely. This was something that I did not anticipate. So I was left without power!

I checked my phone, 38% left. That should be enough if I use it occasionally for messaging, or short calls, and the rest standby time. The phone had this power saving feature which you could set to a max, means you will improve the standby time 3 or 4 times more, however, at the expense of slowing down or no 4G data at all, means you won’t be instantly receiving whatsapp messages and no data-operated app like Gmaps or Waze.

With the power saving, I was still able to keep my whatsapp communication, and did take a limited number of photos, no GPS nav of course, luckily I did not need this since I could rely on the rest of the group as guide. I did bring my iPad, but the Whatsapp does not work on iPad unless the phone remains on. Though, if my phone is dead, I could still communicate using Telegram, Twitter, FB messenger. And I could also make calls using the Skype to any landline or mobile phones around the world. So, somewhat I did have a second line or third line backup here, thanks God. By the way, 38% at around 3pm and I still have 14% left when I got home around 9.30pm, not bad with the Samsung intelligent maximum powersaving (used to be called ultra power saving).

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How to access FB & Youtube in China

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Yes it is possible to unblock network restriction when you travel to some places like China, where access to FB and Youtube is restricted.
the answer, use VPN. Once such site is GFWVPN link where it tells you step by step how to activate your VPN connection. You can try it for free for 24 hours access, for longer, just purchase a one month or other package access, at a reasonable price, well at least not that costly to relieve your FB addiction!
It works with you PC and Mac, iPhone, iPAD, Android etc. Different instruction for different device, no worry the site tells you in detail.
There are other ways, you may google them, but I found this is the easiest and most practical, though not free. It said you can use up to two users simultaneously, but when I did this for my iPAD and Mac, one of them refused to connect.

 

Hit & Miss with Galaxy Note 2 – personal experience

At last I found the way to hide the multitask tab on my new Galaxy Note 2. Multitask tab is a useful apps that you can activate while running any app, then you can open another app for the so-called multitasking windows (2 apps run simultaneously on split windows) – a useful feature e.g when you want to have a quick look at any app without existing your current one.

Just press and hold the back button for a few seconds, will bring up the multitask tab, press and hold for few seconds again will make it disappear. As simple as that, but none of my techno wizard friends could figure out this, till I accidentally found the trick myself today!

Hmmm anything else…? When roaming, you got that little R letter above the network  signal bars, means you are roaming. There is no network name displayed, and if you open setup it is not a straight forward matter to find the network that you are currently roaming to. Puzzled? Usually when at home, I just swipe the top screen, and the network name appears just below the shortcut. But, when I am roaming, the network name appears at the very bottom – sorry it sounds silly but I had difficulty figuring this out for a good while…another way to check network name quickly is just put your finger at the top screen, hold a few seconds, network name appears just under the shortcuts icons.

Another thing, yes, this is one thing that I am always having trouble with, despite frequent attempts to achieve perfection, that is screen capture. You may find frequent need to do this for various reason – and be aware now a lot of time people do screen capture FB wall post as evidence…well I would screen capture for different purpose eg transaction slip from online banking, newspaper cut etc. Since I could easily, and predictably do it on my late iPhone, it can be annoying sometimes doing multiple palm swipe in vain. The secret is, you have to swipe super fast! Place palm briefly on the right or left of screen, swipe fast, it should work most if not all the time.

New iOS6 cookies mix-up? Why I could not log in to web-based Yahoo account….

Do you like cookies? May be some do, but the I think those browsers, especially my new iPAD IOS6 does. I have been noticing something funny before but, yesterday my wife called me saying that she repeatedly failed to log in to her Yahoo mail using the Safari browser. I was startled, I thought I did have similar problem before but resolved upon restarting or resetting the device. She performed the reset to no avail.

When I got back the iPAD I open the browser and tried to log in on her Yahoo account. Yes, a failure message such as this came out.

The solution – clear the cookies (found in the Setting). After the cookies are cleared I was able to log in as usual. But the trouble is, I have to keep clearing the cookies everytime a different user or different account is used for the Yahoo login. This also applies to other apps that requires log in, multiple accounts/users appear not to be happily supported anymore. Well, at least there is a solution, even if it means lots of inconvenience…

When you iPAD went mute…..

How did my 3 year old son managed to turn the iPAD sound off? Suddenly my iPAD went mute. I can still play music and it will read the Pages, but games, dictionary, story telling and Arabic Quiz all have no sounds. I turned the volume up,nothing happen. I also reset the iPAD several times and nothing happen either! Checking the Setting, General, Sound, there is only volume button for ringtone which has nothing to do with the whole thing. Finally I googled the thing and found this useful answer from the Apple comunity forum.

It’s something to do with the system sound. Unfortunately the System sound control is not found in the Setting, instead you have to do something unusual, ie double tap the home button, task bar will appear at your bottom screen. Swipe your finger all the way to left till you see the ‘sound’ icon, enable it…

The Apple community forum full answer on this link

Automatic connection from Wifi to server…

I got confused now.
We have been fighting to get internet access from our desktop computer. Funnily this particular desktop is locked by the administrator, allowing users to use the computer but make no changes such as installing new application or changing internet access. Therefore we are stuck.
This time we tried again, asking the IT guy to install the eternet cable then enable the networking. They reportedly failed due to the same adminstrative restriction. So much for security.
Therefore I decided to install a Wifi dongle. I did install this before and run the installation software I think. Thus, when I inserted the dongle in the USB port, automatically the device was detected and installed.
More surprisingly, an automatic connection was established once I chosen the network, bypassing security page! Usually, once connected to the network, a pop up window appears asking for username and password. However, this time nothing appear, but, when I click Mozilla or Explorer, it worked straight away, and hence I was able to post this note on my blog… I assume this is due to the fact that the eternet cable is partially ‘functioning’, since, if I disconnect the Wifi dongle, the connection was lost again.
In any case, a big problem of not having internet access is now solved! Hopefully for a long term…

Help! My Satria Neo had crashed my laptops!

If you drive a Satria Neo, or any other Sports car with hard suspension, beware, coz, your laptops may suffer. Recently, our third laptop had a damaged LCD screen after a short travel in the Satria. This is the third time it happened. Coincident? Yeah, third coincident may be….

The first time it happened to my thin and ultralight Sony Vaio VPCX (Atom processor), when I was travelling to Kuantan. I had described this in full somewhere else. The laptop was safely kept in a bag, loaded into the boot of the hot-hatch car. On arrival, I noticed the right side screen hinge was broken. In addition, several small spots of leaked LCD liquid detected around the screen, causing permanent cosmetic effect. The damage had upset me by RM400, but the laptop was never back to its original look.

The second, just happened three weeks ago. My wife’s 15in Toshiba laptop, packed in the laptop bag. I took it from home to her school which was just over 10 minutes drive. When my wife turned on the laptop, there was massive area of screen wreckage, in fact it was not possible to see anything on the screen. We had to connect to an external monitor to run the PC. On this occassion, the laptop bag was seated in the cabin during travel, though not on the seat, to be precise, on the floor, seated vertically. Prior to that we traveled on a Starex, then there was some possibility that the bag was carried by small kids. However, at all times, the laptop was kept in its bag. At this point I wasnt utterly sure, I thought it was unlikely that the short travel distance in Satria had caused the wreck. But it certainly is possible.

The third, happened to our Sony Vaio 11in laptop. This time, it was kept in my backpack bag, together with my MacPro and iPAD. Again, the travel in the Satria was from an office in Cheras, to home, then taken on another car (a Merc) to my wife school. On this occassion, there was a large area of ‘blotch’ on the right side of the screen, impairing vision when operating Word or doing graphic intensive work. The damage was not severe, therefore the laptop is still operating to this day. I joked with my wife, when she asked, how come out of the three items, only the Sony Vaio was affected? I said, well, as for the MacPro, it requires it to be hit by a train to inflict damages. Both MacPro and iPAD are well protected, one because of the aluminium casing, as for the iPAD, it is covered in a hard thick PVC envelop. I gather, both of the Mac products are more resistant to shock and vibration.

Any thought? Do I need to find special protective cushion to be placed in the boot of Satria to prevent future accident?

A reflection…
Today I had an opportunity to visit Malaysian Silicon Valley aka Low Yat Plaza. Went to this service centre called APAQ, at level 3. The guy told me that screen damage is not generally covered in warranty – I wonder there is special insurance package that covers screen damage…is it worth taking when this kind of thing has happened so many times – though on a different PCs. Fortunately, unlike the Sony Vaio, the display screen structure was intact, it was purely the LCD film damaged. Therefore they were able to replace it with a generic one that cost me RM330. I guessed the display quality is not that great, though it should do for general purpose and short office works the kind of things my wife does.

Not impressed by an iPAD2? …is it the right gadget for me?

Did I make a mistake? One wonders what on earth, out of the blue I sudenly went on a string of Apple products purchase within a short space of time – an Iphone followed by a Mac Pro, a Mac Air, and guess what’s next? An IPAD2? I must be mad…

Yes, while you may think that I have gone crazy, there is somehow a very good reason for all these to happen – money or funding. The funding was available, the time could not be anymore right, so I decided to get one for each of the Investigators in our team.

So what do I think of IPAD2, you may ask, and I am answering this question after having toyed around with this gadget for less than two weeks.

First of all, I kind of made a mistake. I came from that old generation when tablet PC first came in the market. So I have this kind of thinking ingrained deeply in my mind – that Tablet works with a stylus, and if I want to type on the tablet, then I need a keyboard. Funny but true, as when the time came to purchase this device, I immediately placed an order for a hardware keyboard and a stylus. Since I went for the highest IPAD2 spec (64G with 3G), with the accessories that comprised the keyboard/sleeve set plus a stylus and a screen protector, the whole thing cost over RM3000, almost double the cost of the cheapest IPAD2…As if that is not enough to cause an upset, the whole things tucked together (IPAD2 with the carry case cum sleeve, and a keyboard) truely turned the gadget into something so bulky and awkward, no more a thin tablet that fits nicely iinto an A4 envelope! and that’s not the end of the nightmare, I quickly discovered that I could do better with my fingers alone, even typing, and drawing, what a waste of money…

I must admit, after approximately 72 hours of using this device, my general impression is, out of all the other Apple’s products, iPAD is the least inspiring one. While this may sound outrages to you iPAD’s fans, my comment is based on a high initial expectation of its value, which in the end I found something contrary.

True as some people put it, iPAD is more of a lifestyle product. If you are talking about a fancy gadget, nice to handle, more functional than a smartphone and beats any ordinary laptop in term of portability, battery longevity and fast startup – then you are talking about the right gadget. Its also a handy on-the-fly device for internet browsing, movie or music playback blahblah, alas I did not purchase this iPAD for the above stated reasons! Then I have got the wrong gadget…

A spoil brat like me, who has relied heavily on a laptop do do most of the above, would not be easily won just by the face value. More so, as I have been hypnotised by Blackbery smartphone for the last one and a half year, and this lesser friendly device had made it possible for me to enjoy facebook and emails anywhere I go. Easy connectivity between BB and laptop was a great boon, I could exchange files and share internet connection seamlessly.

However with iPAD, it’s a different world altogether. True I hav been yearning for a state of the art tablet for long, however I was greeted with a surprise to discover that an iPAD is no more than an iPhone without talking ability?

Its funny that all these while I have resisted the urge to own an iPAD, as I dont find find a niche for it. Today, I found several compellimg reason to own one.
First, eBook. Yes I am serious. These days we read less and less print materials, and more and more e-material. One of the most richly available resources is medical and cardiology, which is my professional interest. Its really more of reference ebook, though I also enjoy real plain ebook (hmmm, to be honest I havent read one, except Steven Covey’s Seven Habits…and John Grisham). I also rely so much on eQuran, though thus far none is really perfect. Other occasional though definitely important use is dictionary, to quickly check meanings of difficult or new words.
Second, note taking and quick browsing – I like to do this during lecture, workshop and conferences. Usually the main purpose of taking note is to fight sleepiness rather than serious note keeping, though the later is a valid consideration, since in the past I could not fulfil this satisfactorily (either too cumbersome with laptop, and just when I got used to do it, another limiting factor is laptop’s relatively shorter battery life.. or not very convenience with smartphone). A full time tablet is the ideal gadget though, without touch typing ability, fast entry of data is limited. Therefore the method of note taking is essentially an entry summary points of the lecture of whatever you are listening to, rather than word by word reproduction of the lecture.
A personal organiser cum fully functioning tablet device. Certainly it’s a dream to own a fully functioning gadget that takes care of all your personal agenda, plus ability to quickly browse internet without having to wait for reboot. You can also read newspaper and of course access social media like Facebook & twitter, or emails. Since a tablet has a larger and more functioning screen, it’s definitely better than a smartphone for all these purposes.
Entertainment and gaming. It’s ironic to discover how many of my friends who own tablet devices use them primarily for this purpose! They are not to blame perhaps, since the designers of these gadgets have these as one of their main aims, reason being, playing on a tablet is much more fun than on a small screen of a smartphone. Touchscreen technology has revolutionised gaming experience when combination of tactile, visual and auditory responses can be utilised to its utmost.

So, after having used this gadget for two weeks, did it meet my expectations? Hardly I say, and I maintain this despite the few obvious benefits that I am seeing more and more of now. As said earlier, I enjoy the fast startup, long battery life, and ultra-portability of this gadget – it can essentially be operated anywhere, in the car while driving, in a restaurant while sipping your coffee (caution not mix your tablet screen with that hot coffee…), and of course its ease of operation – perhaps a little bit of experience with Mac and iPhone had helped on this. Crispy, beautiful screen, slim and light – all important estatic factor, and the ‘wow’ factor of course. Perhaps, if I get hooked on to gaming, then it may broaden the usage experience, though I don’t plan to do this (I have discovered more and more now, that I am definitely worse than my kids or wife in playing games, hopeless, therefore…no way I could pin my interest on this!).

I am simply frustrated by its ‘lack of interaction’ with other devices, inability to share internet, awakward file transfer utilities, and slow operation with some ebooks particularly those PDF files. When you first start with an iPAD, there is hardly any but basic apps that you can make use of. Downloading from the Apple Store is not as easy as with the Macbook, and the experience can be quite frustrating, since the only way I can obtain internet access is via a Wifi wireless connection or 3G broadband, which has necessitated me to subscribe to an additional Celcom line (and I am so bad in paying bills you know…not financially, but failure to keep up to date payment, even in these days of online banking, is a real shame on me…). Without the 3G simcard the iPAD is of not much fun, as when you are not connected to internet, there is virtually not much things you can do really. Even with the 3G simcard, it’s unable to make or receive calls, neither send or receive sms, unlike its rival Galaxy Tab – this is another frustration point.

The point about having an electronic gadget that you want to carry everywhere is, it has the ability to increase your productitvity. A cellphone, and now smartphone does this. I owe a lot to my Blackberry, it has introduced me to the world of seamless and continuous IT communication anywhere I go. Its also of course a great phone and a useful personal organiser to some extent. Then I also carry around my laptop which I use for work, preparing lectures/presentations, research and writing blog etc. The laptop is also my real ‘workhorse’ since I do not rely on any other computer, even at home I use my laptop for all my computing work (whenever the wife has no objection for me staring at the computer monitor I mean…)

That leaves almost no gap – quick email, FB and simple search handled by my sweet BB (I got full data subscription courtesy of UKM), and for serious computing work I use my laptop. Whenever I am away from a hotspot and need to get my laptop connected to internet, I simply use a cable, or bluetooth and get connected via my BB. So, where do this cute iPAD fit in?

Lately, with the arrival of a new Macbook Pro – which I have really enjoyed using, things were going as well, till a few occassions arose when I started to complain, or heard complaints from others like my eldest daughter, that my laptop bag is getting very heavy since I changed my laptop. In fact I started to complain of shoulder ache and back ache, and since I heard this complain, everytime I walk with my laptop in the bag, indeed I could feel the weight on me. This had made me thought of an alternative. Could I get away without my heavy laptop – at least some (selected) days – or even, carry my laptop, leave it at the office, and just walk around with a tablet which would be significantly lighter, and yet I could use it (tablet) for all kind of quick works like checking or sending emails, or using it for tablet jobs as outlined above. Furthermore, during travel on a flight, I also felt so awkward, just keeping my bulky laptop in the seat pocket, it bulged out and hampered the opening and closing of seat tray.

It is with this thought in mind that I decided to go for an iPAD. Alas, an iPAD is not a replacement of a laptop, no. Though I was aware of this from the beginning, it took me an experience of missing the laptop before I realised what it means to be deprived of it, even when I got the iPAD, I felt hopeless.

I was sitting at the office one day, with one of my students who was preparing her presentation. I told her that she could make a reference to one of my previous Powerpoint slides – which I instantly retrieved by searching my MacPro HD. Then I suggested her to look at several guidelines papers, which I also happened to have in my laptop’s HD, and again I searched and open these files in no time. Next, I made some suggestions and corrections to her presentation. Then I downloaded several movie files using a pendrive USB transfer, which was handled well by MacPro by using Osirix (they came in DICOM format), then I converted the movies to Quicktime files to be incorporated in her presentation. All done with no fuss. There is no way all these jobs can be done by the iPAD.

On another occassion, we were sitting at this Cardiothoracic conference, when I suddenly found out our poor Medical Officer did not have a viewing application for DICOM files. There were several alternatives all of which would take too long, till I decided to let her use my MacPro.

The above two occassions were not exclusive, it may be unfair for me to expect an iPAD to behave like a fully functioning laptop since this was not the aim of its inventor. However, I am just trying to illustrate what sort of lifestyle I am onto that an iPAD has little role in my daily life (well, unless I change my lifestyle hmmm….)

Ok, ok, fair I cannot expect iPAD to function like a laptop. So I just do like what I thought, use it for ‘light use’ browsing internet (more convenient and workable than BB) or emailing and FB, light writing or typing works (like, I prepared this article typed entirely on my iPAD, using a bluetooth keyboard); then, when I need to do more serious works, I turn to my laptop. Not bad initially, though I ended up heavier, since now I got to carry not only my bulky laptop, in addition another half a kilo extra weight of the iPAD!

Then I discovered more glitches. It was (alleged, I say), that an iPAD can function perfectly like (or better) than your smartphone. While this is true 90% of the time, you will still need your smartphone. The other day, I thought I will take a few shots of ECGs with my iPAD, and surprisingly the quality was too bad that I could hardly read them, well, what do I expect for a camera that is just slightly better than a webcam…bad news, I still do need my smartphone (and furthermore, I do need my phone to make and receives calls and sms) – wow, now I got to carry my laptop, my iPAD and my smartphone, not any lighter in the end…

Some of you may think that I have not made full discovery of my iPAD, and yes I do admit that. I am yet to try the file sharing or sync utility that may make life easier. I have not touched (much) on other great features which iPAD excels at like video playback, iPOD and of course games (the only reason that makes my kids crazy about an iPAD). There are now many apps for specific use in Medical profession including those that will assist in patients’ education or facilitate patients data storage and sharing (subject to legal limit of course). There are also various apps that allow reading, or even editing those word processors or presentation files, I just have not planned to get them for my iPAD, unless I could use those that I have already downloaded for my Mac – since I am still in the middle of trying to fit the role of this iPAD into my life (?…really). In fairness, I do like it (hey, I never say I hate iPAD!)… and I look forward to the day when I can just walk around with my iPAD, leave behind that bulky laptop for real, occasional serious work).

Overall score: *** (3 star, one for its slimness, one for its wow factor, and another coz the kidz and all my good frens like it…)

LIKE: Its a great tablet, touch screen, great typing whether the ‘soft’ keyboard or with the bluetooth keyboard (I am still learning…); long battery life, fast startup, great with music, videos, and of course internet (decent enough)

DISLIKE: I still cannot dispense without my laptop…eg the interface for FB and emails are are different (not the full version I usually see on my Chrome or Mac’s Safari); same problem with Skype – I could not access account menu (ie to top up credit for instance)

Mac Pro vs Mac Air – close call…

(A snap review of Macbook Air 11inch, i7 1.8GHz, 120GB HD, 4GB RAM)

Just within less than a month of acquiring a Macbook Pra and writing a short review about it on my blog, now I am blessed with the arrival of this much awaited Macbook Air.
Well, I knew of its coming however not certain of when.
Now it has just been practically delivered to my door at office.
And the first impression was this wow factor. Yes certainly its impressive on a first look.

Macbook Pro – Big, strong, highly versatile and still charming, seductive…!

Well, despite its bulkiness, it is the performance that really counts for this lovely (and I still maintain its seductiveness…) Macbook Pro.
And major difference that was immediately palpable was when using the keyboard to type. Though Air is certainly much better than Sony Vaio to handle, and the keyboard is far more tactile, it is still no match with the Pro in term of easiness with typing.
Macbook Pro is certainly the best. You feel so confident typing on it.
While the Air, you can almost feel the keyboard vibration through the table or your lap (wherever the Air is seated on), due to its thinness. It is this feel of ‘wanting’ as you keep on typing, as opposed to the Pro, you feel completely secure, and satisfied with each fingerstroke.
I am a keyboard mania maybe, but I maintain that keyboard is the most important hardware that matters so much, since it is the one interface between you and your laptop which you will end up massaging, tapping or stroking day in and day out. So you want nothing but the best feel and satisfaction.
Since, I have been working to make this (Pro) laptop a workhorse computer, by now it has nearly every application and setting needed to fulfill my daily need. This is a big thing since if I switch, I will have to start from basic again, I am talking about losing those valuable three weeks of time that I have spent to make my Pro my best companion on the table.

Small vs big...I was beaten!

So, after making this Pro my close companion (hmmm that I probably spent more awake time with this machine than with my wife er….dlhkoiwbit…) I get emotionally attached, and parting with it means a loss (really…?), and I bet I will keep wondering why on earth I switched? I essentially got everything from my Pro, huge HD space, fantastic keyboard, pleasant, highly viewable screen, and of course it is blistering fast. The only thing that this machine does not have is a slim and light body…and itself may be a ‘strength’ in the sense that it is less vulnerable than the Air.

Talking about bulkiness, one thing I noticed about the Pro is, despite its large size and quite substantial weight, it sits comfortably on my lap, and it doesn’t release too much heat like any other laptops. I remember my Sony Vaio, I had a little discomfort handling this laptop on my lap, on my night wares, since the heat can be felt to cause discomfort especially with prolonged use.

I should be reminded of my experience with Sony Vaio VPCX. It is a very thin and slim laptop – dimension almost matching that of Mac Air – however, little did I ever given a thought, that it’s slimliness that killed…? Have you not ever wondered why thin people are more prone to osteoporosis? If being thin means less agile, less robust in term of resistance to breakage (or accidental mishandling), than I should have learned enough from my experience with Vaio VPCX (the laptop hinges broke apart and I almost lost the whole thing, till someone clever at the repair shop managed to patch the hinges back, at a very high cost, and resulted in the screen losing a few valuable pixels…

Mac Air – Thin and Slim, Irresistible majesty – with some shortages…
So, here I go. There is no denying of its majestic beauty…slender body, thin and ultraportable, much more pleasing to the eyes compared to that bulky Mac Pro. And it boots faster, it’s just great.

It's got that 'wow' factor and 'oh this is my dream laptop' kind of thinking for anyone seeing it...

This laptop comes in an 11inch size, it is so thin and lightweight, in contrast to the (now) fat Macbook Pro which could hardly sit comfortably in your hand, this Air can can be handled by your fingers, and I am serious. It is so thin and light that you will hardly realize this little beast is sitting inside your backpack. At the same time, unlike Sony Vaio VPCX, it feels more sturdy, and the keyboard body has more weight and feel solid, making typing more pleasant if compared to Vaio VPCX.

Keyboard keys a bit superficial…
Ouch, as I am typing I could feel the thinness of the keyboard and that the keys are rather too superficial, therefore the feel is less satisfying than when you are typing on a Macbook Pro. Another little thing I notice, the power on-off switch is seated at top right, comes as one of the keys on the keyboard. So, is there a risk that you accidentally tap this power key during typing? Didn’t happen with me though but it is a theoretical possibility, you also got to be careful when cleaning the keyboard as you may accidentally hit this power key as well…

Size wise, yes it is far smaller, far thinner of course. However, I know by having this little princess, I will lose on a few key things like – hard disk space, connectivity (no SD card – I need it often), no CD/DVD (this is also frequently needed in my work), and lack of ethernet support (these days I still need it when traveling). That is a lot to sacrifice. And of course, despite a fast SSD, the capacity is way too little.
Instead what do I get – yes I will get a featherweight thin laptop which means I don’t have to be walking around with a risk of breaking my shoulder one day. And it is less disturbing in case I need to open my laptop and operate it while I am seated in a crowd or during lectures and conferences.
How about battery life? This is yet to be tested, from initial report it was said that the battery life is probably a little less durable compared to Pro. That may be a disadvantage in real life.

A little bigger, or a little smaller? Right choice when size does matter. Both are equally powerful

Well, that’s perhaps not all. I notice this laptop has also quite a fast boot up speed, palpably better than the Pro. At least in term of speed & performance it is a close match to Mac Pro, this is what all the reviewers in CNET said. The keyboard, despite it being a little superficial, has a slightly smaller overall space, therefore all the keys are realistically more reachable compared to that of Pro.

However, looking at statistic, I am already space constrained – I just run the Finder on my Macbook Pro, check the Hard Disk, and, out of 500GB, as much as 136GB already used up! Which means, whatever I do, this tiny Mac Air will not be able to accommodate everything that I already have in my Pro, if I were to switch to it, let alone the future… To try shrinking the storage is not possible, as I keep a lot of photos and clinical images plus some videos which I think take up most of the space. Yes I did this when I received the Vaio VPCX equipped with a meager 64GB HD, I ended up missing a lot of thing, having to carry that spare external HD in case I need to dig back all those archives! Then I decided to ‘upgrade’ the storage by acquiring a 32GB SD card (highest storage available then – now you can get 64, or perhaps 128?) – however, if I were to do this with the Air, it’s not a possible option since the Air is missing that essential SD card slot. This is a serious negative factor in my decision making process.

Now, I remember, at the time when the offer came for this Mac Air, I had an option of going for a bigger SSD, at cost, of course, I sillily put the thought aside and just acted lazy by accepting the baseline spec. So, now I am stuck, not much to do but have to part with this machine, and be content with this large, chunky but fully functional Mac Pro.

I could do with both….no let’s forget the lavishness
The easy way is to keep both, but I believe by doing this in the end one of them will become redundant. After a careful and calculated thought, I have resigned myself to keeping the Mac Pro, no regret. Yes it is bulky and not slim like the Air, but I got everything I need, and it is now fully loaded with apps and optimized setting, I just have to kick off with all the works that needed done. Time to say good bye to Mac Air (…I will still miss it…)

Connectivity again…Finally I managed to use my BB bluetooth modem with Macbook Pro

Success…after three weeks of fiddling with different setup preferences etc., I finally managed to figure out how to correctly use my BB as a modem for my Macbook Pro, using the bluetooth connection. As mentioned elsewhere, I successfully connected the BB modem to Macbook using the USB cable, however, the bluetooth setup was a bit different.


Funny, coz, in the end, the only reason why the bluetooth modem did not work before, because I ignored the password request! Though it still appeared to connect, there was no data received. I consider this as a bug in the Mac setting (?) – consider this. I never set a password for my Mac since the beginning. So, each time the setup preference or application asked for password access, I just ignored it ie leave the password space blank. This worked for everything. So I assume the same was the case with the bluetooth modem.

Another funny thing was, the program never asked for a password when I connect using Wifi, ethernet or USB (modem), why would it with bluetooth? And why on earth it forced me to create a password in order to make the connection work – maybe I did wrong somewhere, any of you genius help me here…

Anyway, I was willing to give it a try. So I went to setup preferences – users and group, and choose the password tab, create a new password (use blank for old password since I had none). Save, then dial the bluetooth connection. Its a hassle that everytime I connect using the bluetooth I have to type the Admin (user) name and password. I tried to find anywhere I could disable this feature, but no success. So I just have to accept it for now.

You may ask why bother, I could just keep using the wired connection? I still found bluetooth handy, since it does not involve any wire. I could for instance have my phone charged on the wall socket, and yet I could still use it as a bluetooth modem without the need to hook it up to my laptop.

The connection speed is quite decent, and as I have noticed it before, Macbook Pro works is fast and practical. Now that I can use my BB broadband connectivity for my Mac, is another reason to rejoice…