A years late but never too late, Flickr has finally gotten a real make over, now it feels like Flickr loves pictures again. A lot of people have left Flickr, when it was the go to place for pictures in 2006/7/8 it fell back on the support for mobile use and totally disappeared with the rise of Instagram. Yahoo knows how to mess things up, I still hate using my yahoo ID to login, I’m trying to figure out a way to use my Google+ Sign In for that.
The phone App is very smooth, with uploads and edits/filters when uploading from your phone. Viewing pictures is smooth with a nice flow between contacts, people, and searching pictures. Its a vast difference then what it used to be to this current form and I’m really liking it, to the point that I have started using it again. You can easily comment and follow up on your activity on your phone, its great, for photographers this is much better for their pictures, Instagram has larger following but they were ahead of the game. Still if you liked Flickr before and hated that they went stagnant then you will love the much needed update of Flickr.
The new XBox One is here, Microsoft is referring to it as the new “Entertainment System”, people don’t realize that at the core of all this is gaming, we want to play games as well as have other features, gaming is the main feature, everything else is secondary. So Microsoft has to do a lot to live up to, but one thing I like is XBox Live and your Gold Account is going to carry over to the XBox One which is great, the functionality of XBox One is going to be the same with a mix of XBox 360 & Windows 8 so if your familiar with them you will be fine. They are trying to introduce more functionality with TV, Skype, and Internet Explorer, its ok but not key for me. I want to see if they will be releasing another Halo, now that would be Epic, even though I haven’t finished Halo 4 yet, I still have the rest of 2013 to do that. One surprise for me is that they have finally introduced a slot-loading BluRay player, I still buy BluRays but only of movies that I love, so I’m not sure how many people have BluRays when they have the option of streaming, still its a good option.
As far as installation, when you first insert a disc into the Xbox One, it’ll install the game to the hard drive — you won’t have to use the disc again. As for internet connectivity they haven’t given a clear picture, so I’m not sure if it has to have internet connectivity to keep playing the games, that wouldn’t be a wise decision if you have to have constant internet connectivity. I like the idea that you load the disc once and then you don’t have to use it to play the game. The controller is an update that I really like, they put a lot of thought into it and everyone keeps saying how great it is, so that is something I want to try. They new Kenict is a bit like the CIA’s dream it can hear and see you while the console is off, you can use gestures and voice commands to switch the XBox One on and go through its menus.
Both consoles promise to track your motions, power on instantly, and seamlessly update themselves in the background, among many other common features. Lets see how that works out, how many people have power up their XBox 360 or Playstation after a month of not touching to play a new game and end up having to perform a systems update for an hour or more so that you can play that new game. Honestly what I loved about the XBox was XBox Live, I could always play with friends across the globe, this time around I don’t know what they have planned.
Overall I’m honestly excited about the new console but they have to clarify a few points about the 2nd hand market and online connectivity. I’m the graphics will be phenomenal, and I want to see what games they have lined up, not sure what they are going to price it at, but I’m hoping it won’t pass the $400 mark.
This might be a little too late, but still its the move that they needed to do for a while. If you have a Blackberry you can feel relative again, you won’t be alone anymore, thats if people join BBM again after joining the WhatsApp bandwagon. I like BBM and still until the end of its days, the hardware got a bit annoying and kept restarting with 15 min restarts. With the launch of the Q10 everyone seems interested in it again and they gave it a chance with the Z10 but Blackberry just doesn’t work with the Touch Screen alone, it needs the keyboard too thats why the Q10 looks interesting. BBM was always more organized and better then the all the other chat Apps in the beginning and maybe this move will bring them back, the one failure of Blackberry is the lack of Apps but we will see what happens when BBM is released, will people migrate back to BBM?
Apple wanted to remove all trace of Google from their iOS operating system, it took them 6 to 9 months after the sudden change for them to start releasing their own Apps and everyone was so happy with Google Maps, what Apple did was an initial disaster with their Maps App and with the release of Gmail it’s so much better then the native iOS mail App, and I like it so much more after the last update.
The update released by Google circumvents Apple’s default apps, opting for its own apps already available on iOS. Now, the Gmail app has the ability to open YouTube, Google Maps, and Chrome links directly into the respective app if installed, instead of Safari. I think its a smart move by Google, to be able to keep people in the Google environment within the iOS platform, very smart and smooth move.
As I expected, since iPhone 5′s have gotten on the 4G network and now other Android phones it seems that its taking a toll on the data bandwidth available. The first tests were insanely fast but now these days there is a bit of a lag and the ping isn’t as fast, its 4G and you get between 10 MB to 15 MB, not the 40+ MB that we were expecting and were excited about. Overall I think that Zain has done a decent job handling the large influx of people, people will pay for service and overall the service is consistent for our use and its portable which is the important part, they are increasing coverage all over Kuwait. After getting the coverage I want them to bring back the bandwidth to what it used to be, but honestly I think its a solid product and I enjoy using it.
My experience with Microsoft dates back to the original CE phones back in 2003, I wanted something different and that phone was different and to configure it you needed a doctorates degree in physics. But I like the bubbles game on it, then i tried Windows 3.0 for work and that had decent integration with Microsoft exchange. But nobody did integration like Apple & Google did, so I switch to Android the moment it came out and before that I was on the SonyEricsson platform.
With the introduction of the Windows Phone 8 they are finally trying to make a decent competitor to the Apple & Android platform and right now its a few steps behind but still impressive. With Windows Phone 8 has some decent integration with Windows 8 such as auto photo updates, and the Microsoft Office Suite integrates nicely with the Windows Phone 8, especially OneNote which is probably the best note taking tool I have ever used, even better then Evernote. As well as SkyDrive integration which can sync your photos as well as your documents, trying to be a better DropBox for Windows which isn’t too bad.
The operating system itself gets a little getting used to, its like visiting somewhere for the first time, you know enough to get around but need some time to get really familiar with it. There is smooth feeling to the operating system that I like, and after 6 months of abuse the phone has not hung on me once which is great for a smart phone of this caliber.
What I Like:
What I Don’t Like:
I’m using the HTC 8X and I’m honestly loving it, its a light phone with an excellent camera. And the battery lasts over a 30 hours with a lot of abuse. Even when I was riding over 5 hours in San Diego while listening to Spotify the whole time it only lost 25% of the battery which is insane, if i did it with the Nexus 4 it would have lost 50% and with the iPhone 5 only 20% battery would be left.
My Top Apps
Overall I’m honestly loving the windows platform. This phone got a high rating for stability and the long lasting battery and a great selection of Apps. Microsoft have a good thing, they just need to clean up their App store and integarte it with Windows 8. They really are in need of Youtube and Google Maps, there are replacements but they don’t beat out the originals. They built an excellent product I just hope they keep on improving it, and I love that when other phones run out of battery this one is still going. The success of this platform depends on the Apps available and Microsoft knows this, Blackberry failed because of this, thats why they are throwing everything they can at it and hopefully it will keep growing. They have substitute Apps for most of the major ones, but hopefully the major App developers will develop for Windows.
All this wait and finally this phone is out and it hasn’t changed too much in the looks department but the guts of the phone looks very impressive, its packing a punch. I think Samsung is taking a page out of Apple’s book, the design is fine but they did a major upgrade on the internal parts of the device. They are aiming to release it towards the end of April and knowing what happened last time, these are going to sell out quickly.
Samsung S4 Specifications:
What I like about the Hardware:
What I Don’t like About the Hardware
I would like to talk about the camera since that is a feature which is essential to our media dependent lives and the ability to share pictures in all directions. Now this is an interesting features, the dual-camera setup on the S4 can be used in video chat like everyone else and photographs, so a pic of you and what you have your camera pointed at, and the camera as mentioned about in the Specs is 13MP which is very impressive, the S3 camera was great, this one looks to be even better. They even took features from the Samsung Galaxy Camera and set it up with the S4 which is a smart move on their part.
You have several choices from the new Android Devices that are coming out:
My opinion is that Sony makes good looking devices, but the OS is always lacking something and they NEVER update their phone, and that makes a huge difference, if you really like it then get, but other then that I would go with either the HTC One or the Samsung S4. If you like HTC then you will love the HTC One, very solid build, and they really worked on the software this time around. And Samsung as usual has come out with the full featured monster. If I had to describe HTC and Samsung’s software philosophies in a single sentence, it’d be this: HTC puts more emphasis on design, whereas Samsung packs in more features. Overall I love the metal design of the HTC One over the Samsung S4, but I like the camera use of the S4. When it comes down to these two its a matter of preference.
I know that Google tends to shut down services that aren’t used by people much, but Google Reader! Seriously, I live off of that, and so many apps depend on that, we have until July 1st to use Google Take Out and import our RSS Feeds to other RSS Readers. But at least there are options, cloud based would help if you tend to use your RSS Reader from multiple locations like myself, and Desktop based if only from one or two machines, but then comes the problem of syncing for Desktop Feeders, they are still all linked to Google Reader, so how will they sync between each other. I know the desktop based solutions below sync with Google Reader, I’m not sure how they will sync across from each other.
No matter what other options there are I can’t believe they are doing this, it’s such a good and simple product, to me I depend on it to get through all my feeds and keep tabs on all the websites I follow and there are a lot and to sync between all my feeds is going to be very annoying.
I remember when they cancelled Google Buzz, fine I can understand that, and that collaboration tool that people didn’t know how to use. But Google Reader! Come on Google, just give us this one and let us keep it. Any thoughts people on this? How dependent are you on Google Reader, I know a lot of people don’t read blogs or certain websites as much as they used to but I didn’t think they stopped using Google Reader! Opinions people!
I honestly love instagram, I enjoy the interaction and people’s reactions to pictures and seeing what others may snap pictures of. There is always something to entertain someone on instagram, so much to see and I think everyone is on it at this stage. In Kuwait people migrate from one thing to another and the latest is instagram, with business setting up through instagram and spreading by it and honestly it works. Everyone is pointing theirs phones and taking pics all the time, but the states I didn’t see people as obssessed with it as we are. I tend to like taking good pictures and seeing what others may take, but the one thing that I see that drives me nuts is people following lots of people to get followed and then unfollowing, and sometimes it gets me wondering why some people would unfollow, I honestly know that I shouldn’t care but I’m always curious about it and I would be lying if I didn’t say it didn’t bother me, but it does just a little bit. I use statigram to follow up on the numbers and growth and so I see specifically who unfollowed and there are always surprises.
Its been about a month since I got the Nexus 4 and I have put it through it’s paces, I took a week to put all my Apps on it and configure to the way I want. So I have been using it for about three weeks as my main phone and abusing it in every possible way. First off it is a much better phone then the Galaxy Nexus, I am honestly happy with this experiment that Google did with LG, if it was Motorolla I would have been really worried. Google gives an opportunity to each manufacturer to show their coolest features and LG won them over this time, Samsung has been known for the SII & SII, as well as the large Note line, not for the Nexus line even though it was a solid phone. Samsung would always save the best for it’s S line like the SII & SIII, but I didn’t like layer they install over the basic or vanilla Android OS, so the Nexus line was always second class to the Samsung S line, the case was the same with the Nexus S & Galaxy Nexus. For the first time a Nexus phone feels like it is the best that Google has to offer on a hardware point of view, and their OS always feels clean and light.
What I Like:
What I don’t Like:
I honestly love this phone and that it has such a well done operating system, smooth and powerful, and has never hung on me. The screen is beautiful, love scrolling through Instagram on it, and reading my Google Reader feeds, very clear, and easy to look at. Google gambled with LG and it’s paying off, they built an amazing machine with this phone and I hope that they make an even better one. I honestly don’t think I want any other feature on the phone then what I already have, its really good, you always want better but this was really worth the wait.
Check out The Verge Review for an extremely detailed breakdown