Monthly Archives: January 2016

#COIN – all of your #creditcards in ONE card #tech

We all struggle with having too many cards in our wallets and purses.

coin-crads
Coin 2.0 addresses this by allowing you to store up to 8 cards in one credit card sized device!

Check out Coin 2.0 on Amazon

The Coin 2.0 support the current swipe and tap-to-pay options for making payment.  The device uses NFC to allow secure contactless payment.

Coin 2.0 has a display and selector that allows you to toggle through each of your cards.

It also comes with a reader to help you transfer your existing cards into the Coin 2.0 card using your phone and a simple to use app.

You can also gain Coin rewards while shopping!

coin-in-box

Advertisements

Update Microsoft offers #Office365 1yr Subscription free to #Lumia950 #Lumia950XL #commonsense

continuum-on-windows-10-mobile

After the debacle of Microsoft’s announcement that Office 365 subscriptions would be needed for using Office via Continuum on Windows 10 Mobile after a trial period it would seem Microsoft has softened the blow a little.

Via the Lumia Offers app it is currently possible to get a FREE Office 365 Subscription!  This offer seems to be rolling out but is currently available at least in the US and UK.

Get your license now and get back to ‘Productivity Like A Boss’ as it should be and not ‘Gimped as a Windows 10 Mobile user after a trial period’

Official blog from Microsoft on the offer – check the Terms and Conditions!

Bidul USB Hub 3.0 with Ethernet Adaptor & Display Port for Surface Pro 3 http://amzn.to/1OcsqzD

USB 3.0 Hub offers Ethernet, DisplayPort AND an additional USB 3.0 port!

Every Surface Pro 3 users knows the pain of the constraint of only having 1 USB port!!  Whether you are trying to use a DVD drive and hard drive for cloning, USB input devices, one port always falls short!

Bidul has solved this issue offering you a solution with both 2 USB ports, an Ethernet port for hardwired connections as well as a pass through for your DisplayPort to hook up an external display.

The expansion hub can be ordered on Amazon here for $44!

surface-pro-3-hubsurface-pro-3-hub-installed

 


Storage Issues?

BUY NOW!

Juiced Systems Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – 4 in 1 Adapter – 2x USB 3.0, SD/SDHC/MMC4.0, Micro SD/SDHC – http://amzn.to/1OcsgbB

Juiced Systems Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – 4 in 1 Adapter – 2x USB 3.0, SD/SDHC/MMC4.0, Micro SD/SDHC

The single most frustrating issue on the Surface range of hybrids has to be the single USB 3.0 port.

This handy USB hub expands your USB to 2 3.0 ports as well as offering you additional memory card standards to allow you to import your pictures and files from most conceivable memory card sources.

The USB extender and memory card reader comes in at $29.99 and csan be ordered up here!

juiced-surface-pro-3-installedjuiced-surface-pro-3

@Microsoft @SatyaNadella #Delight #Metrics matter #Windows10Devices lost #Marketshare #appgap

Windows Mobile marketshare continues to drop as does user delight – the most important user metric.

no-satisfaction-tmiIt is a fact, Windows Mobile in any shape or form has a low market share AND it is diminishing despite of Windows 10 Mobile and new flagship devices.

comScore: Windows US smartphone market share falls again, now down to 2.8%

Adopting other platforms as a saviour?

WHY is it that Windows Mobile cannot get a hook on the market and gain traction – is it the next Blackberry?  It is interesting to see parallels between Blackberry and Microsoft – Blackberry adopts Android after trying to hook Android apps into their own operating system and failing.  Microsoft develops virtual Android under Windows 10 Insiders program leading us to believe that Android apps could be the saviour for Windows Phone adoption – pulls the plug on the development – Astoria no longer shipped in later Windows 10 Mobile builds.  Microsoft continues to work on Project Islandwood – the transfer of iOS apps to the Windows platform.

Is this the solution to Microsoft’s woes?  What is the real problem?

Everyone talks about the app gap when it comes to Windows phones.

With the release of Windows 10 and Microsoft’s push towards Universal applications – apps that can run  across all Windows 10 devices and adapt to each form factor – there has been a slight uptick in mainstream applications that have previously been missing.  There have also been a number of application withdrawal from the Windows Store but speculation is rife as to whether this is to give way to new Universal apps or if like many other companies they have decided to stop developing for the Windows Store as user demand is just not there.

The app gap is real BUT the problem with Windows Phone stems more from the user delight perspective.

Delight – User Experience – A dish served COLD on Windows Phone

App-Gap-Main-PicIf you are running an Android phone or an iPhone you get it all, the full enchilada so to speak and that is even a literal experience when not on the Windows Phone platform.  Eateries have apps for Android and iPhone, get points, deals and free food – McDonalds offers free burgers, free breakfast sandwiches and coupons for other deals, Moes offers free burritos if you use their app and sign in each visit.  Other companies do the same – grocery stores offer you electronic coupons to clip, keep your member cards on your phone, allow payment through your phone.  Most businesses offer incentives, deals and freebies.  What does this mean?  Delight – a tangible measure of satisfaction for owning an Android or iPhone.

app-gapYou are rewarded for having the device, you save money, you have a better shopping experience, easier checking in for movies, car servicing, the scenarios are endless but the deal is LIFE IS MADE EASIER and YOU ARE MORE SATISFIED!

Now switch back to owning a Windows Phone – you are filled with regret, frustration and a lack of satisfaction.  Why – because you don’t get the opportunity to take part in any of the above.  Is it frustrating yes, is it likely to change in the short term – no.  Long term – maybe.

As a Windows Phone user who has been running on a Galaxy S5 for a few months I can express my level of delight and frustration of being a Windows Phone user.  I now have banking applications, better access to my blogs, Waze is lightyears ahead compared to the now unsupported and under developed Windows Phone version (*Thanks* Google).  Windows 10 Mobile is like the North Korea of mobile operating systems.

This is the cause of Windows failing on phone.  The handsets are fine, not groundbreaking or gotta have in a lot of cases but Microsoft and its partners do offer a wide range of phones that cover all price points.  The operating system and user experience with Windows 10 Mobile is very good.  The operating system for the most part is hugely responsive, a pleasure to use and offering features that Apple and Google do not have – for example Continuum.  While not a game changer for most, the ability to run your phone as a desktop computer via a monitor, keyboard and mouse set up is unique and offers productivity beyond what the competition offers.

Windows 10 Mobile Launched?  No Awareness in the Market

Windows 10 Mobile also lacks awareness and leadership.  Who really knows about Windows 10 Mobile?  The launch if you can even call it that has been beyond lackluster.  Microsoft kicked Windows 10 Mobile out the back door to the market with little to no fanfare.  They are not proud of their operating system and again the soft launch of the latest handsets that represent currently the flagship devices was little more than a wet fart out of Redmond.  Marketing again fails Microsoft.  No-one is excited about Windows 10 Mobile or Lumia handsets – NOT EVEN MICROSOFT can portray or sell these handsets outside of the Windows Insiders community.

Brand awareness sucks and Microsoft may be banking on its currently very successful Surface brand to revive or kickstart a Windows 10 Mobile revolution.  What does this mean though?  Will we get a Surface standard/quality handset with similar design cues or will it be something more epic offering (as rumoured) Windows 32-bit support so you can theoretically run ANY Windows app on your phone?  We don’t know and for now the market and general populous does not care.

If you own a Windows Phone you will be satisfied with the usability and operating system and in general the handsets are good quality.

I can’t get no-oo…satisfaction…..

If you own a Windows Phone you will be missing out on a whole lot of enrichment in terms of what is on offer from the other platforms – you will be missing the delight of owning a supported smartphone in a very competitive and active marketing network.  No deals, freebies, poor quality versions of the same applications other phones have, less productivity enhancements for life in general.

Remix your computer! Kick #Windows10 #MacOs to the curb – $70 – http://amzn.to/1Odkig4

$70 Desktop Computing – 1080p Streaming, Office, this pebble sized powerhouse does it all!

 

  • 1.2GHz quad-core with 2GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal storage
  • Up to 128GB expandable storage
  • Small, portable with stylish design and fully configured with remix os 2.0 (based on android 5.1)
  • Created Kickstarter history with $1.6M plus in funding

An amazing mix of Windows 10/Android functionality that can run  Office, stream your movies and more – all for $70!!!  The palm sized pebble packs enough punch to handle your apps and 1080p video.

What are you waiting for – get this connected to your flat screen and open up a new platform for viewing your movies, productivity apps and more.

RemixOS Desktop

Nothing else offers this value for money or computing bank for buck!

Fitbit announces new Blaze Smartwatch #Fitbit #Blaze #exercise

Fitbit announced today their new family member Blaze.  Looking very much like the Apple Watch the new Blaze is not a full blown smartwatch.  The device is a fitness focussed device and does not/will not run applications it will however offer notifications from your smartphone.

fitbit-blazeThe Blaze offers up to 5 days usage which beats the Apple Watch and many other trackers but the downside to the Fitbit Blaze is a lack of internal GPS unlike the Surge.  Any tracking will be done via your phone so you are going to be tethered to your phone while exercising.  The Microsoft Band devices some with GPS tracking internally which do being down battery life but they also offer a wealth of information on your run/walk or bike ride.

The device has a unique feature in that it pops out of the strap so you can change between different colors/styles.

The Blaze will be available from $199.  The device is actually cheaper than the Surge ($249) which was the flagship device.  It is thought that the sales from customization options and accessories for the Blaze will drive a higher overall ownership cost for the Blaze vs the existing Surge device.

 

#Apple challenge for 2016 #Power #Lightning cables

I think, as many have said, Apple had a very lackluster year in 2015.  While new products have continued to fly off the shelves after each product launch and the lines still appear outside Apple Stores, demand for Apple products overall is waning.  Apple cannot afford another ‘S’ year.

iPhone sales are down, even if sales remain higher than any other phone on the market.

iPad sales are down, partly cannibalized by the phablet phenomenon of the iPhone 6+ and 6S+ and I believe saturation of devices and longevity of the prior models.  Nothing compelling has come out of the iPad camp revitalizing the product line, there is no ‘gotta have’ hot new feature to drive new sales – no Force Touch does not count!

iPad-ProThe iPad Pro attempt to meet the needs of the new hybrid PC/Tablet market had a very soft impact.  Apple’s reaction to this market seems to be a knee jerk reaction to get something on the market in this sector.  Unfortunately it falls short both on the hardware and the software front.  Nothing compelling about usage, it is a poor amalgamation of an iPad and MacBook.  The hardware falls short with its lack of expansion and accessories, the software falls short in delivering real productivity tools and multitasking.  Any success in this area would be an iPad/MacBook hybrid BUT Tim Cook has stated there the two operating systems would not merge (like Windows 10 has attempted to standardize and run across all devices)  As an attempt to hit the Surface line of computers and the adoption of similar devices now from other manufacturers the iPad Pro falls way short as any form of ‘enterprise’ device.   Maybe iPad Pro S will fix some of these issues BUT with Apple’s reluctance to use expandable storage and with its tight grip on the accessories and operating system I fear this will again be a long haul iterative upgrade/improvement process.

Apple Watch has not gripped the market as expected.  Initial total reliance on a iPhone to run the applications and drive anything on the watch was hugely disappointing as is the battery life.  It is a fashion item, not really much of a life enhancer in my view.

Apple needs to turn things around this year.  There needs to be a compelling device, I doubt there will be a new niche segment of the market defined this year but they need a winner again.  Also a little design common sense would be refreshing.

I think one simple area Apple could improve in 2016 is something so rudimentary and basic it is shocking that after its launch in 2012 it is still a common pain point for probably 95% of device users.

WP_20151122_16_24_11_Pro_LI

Yes, the trusty Lightning Cable.  In theory one of the greatest (if non-standard!) ideas in a long time.  A reversible connector which allows both the charging and syncing of now quite a good number of Apple devices.

Its ease of use is wonderful, users of MicroUSB cables have been in envy of the connector until the savior of the USB type C connector which now seems to be gaining momentum (based on the adoption rate as CES 2016).

 

The Lightning cable is the worst case of design and longevity Apple has ever designed.  Despite its vast teams of designers, testers and the unfathomable amount of resources available to Apple at 1 Infinite Loop, it would seem that designing a cable that can meet the daily usage demands of regular users is impossible.

One positive aspect of these design flaws is that 3rd party accessory manufacturers have a constant revenue stream from these forever dying, breaking, failing abysmally original leads.

The problem is these 3rd party leads have issues too.  Compatibility – you can’t just make a lead, you have to ensure you are licensed and have the required chip installed in your 3rd party lead.  So what does this mean – no license means some hacked, spoofed chip signal in numerous Chinese imported leads.  The problem with that is that regular Apple iOS updates kill of these charging cords.  So even if the Chinese did perfect the Lightning cable (which they have not according to my experiences!) they would be screwed probably with the next iteration of iOS.  Licensed 3rd party cables fair a little better both being compliant with Apple’s certification (i.e. they pay the Apple tax) and additionally a little more thought and design may have gone into trying to make the cable more sturdy.

hama-lightning-cable-insideThis is actually the main selling point of MANY 3rd party cables BUT not many of them live up to their claims.

Is it the design mandate for the licensing and inline taxation chip that is the inherent problem with all Lightning cables – maybe so.

 

So come on Apple, make 2016 the year of the Lightning cable or consider another couple of options:

Adopt USB Type C like the rest of the tech industry – this I guess would upset everyone who currently has invested in Lightning accessories and 100 packs of sync cables from eBay

lightning-bulk-cableslightning-bulk-cables

 

 

 

 

Remove the inline tax chip and solidify the design of the cable and connectors so that a cable can last more than a month.  Micro and mini USB cables do not have these issues why should Lightning cables have these major wear and tear issues?

magic mouse 2 charging

The  cables also need to be strengthened to meet the new unique charging challenges for newer Apple devices that now charge using the connector.

 

apple-headphone-jackThere has also been talk of Lightning cable based headphones as Apple tries to find ways to slim down devices.  How on earth would they survive the continual stress and bending of in-pocket use?  Another apparently patented idea which would probably be a shaved standard connector as shown here – this without any form of in-line taxation chip would probably be a smarter and more durable solution.