Second Time Around

This year’s Microsoft MVP Summit is my second (2011 was the first) and so far the best that I have experienced! It was without my knowledge that this year, if not for my friend that 2013 would be the 20th year that the program is in place and making it in this momentous event has caught me by surprise.

The range of topics for my specific area of expertise are exciting in the sense that I can’t wait to get dirty with my hands as well using those. Of course, what they’re are – are still covered by NDA hence, it can’t be released in public until Microsoft makes it public themselves. I could remember that during the last summit, what we are currently using were previewed then but with MVPs’ input and in various CTP releases, they have shipped a good product where everyone is pleased (not giving specifics but it is released in VS 2012). 🙂

Prior to the summit, selecting my sessions, I realized that most of ASP.NET/IIS related topics are assigned in Hyatt. In a way, I am disappointed by it as the previous summit that I have attended, sessions were held in the main campus in various buildings. Given that I have attended only 2, there were some differences with the range of activities held however, I am pretty much satisfied with how things worked this time – logistics, food, internet (a must!) and activities.

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But more than the sessions, I really liked as well the activities on socialization where I got to meet not only Microsoft People that I look up to but also different MVPs from other countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and UK. Likewise, I was able to meet Filipino MVPs who are based on other countries as well. Aside from pleasantries, the exchange of communication was the highlight of the event. That is where we put faces behind the names and talk about common interests and share techniques and approaches that would help fill up best-practices in our respective organizations. The camaraderie has shown that the MVPs are not just techie guys but fun guys as well fueled with passion to use and share about the Microsoft technologies. This passion drives the most of us to PASS It ON to others to make lives, experiences, and computing better!

Happy 20th Microsoft MVP!

A Week With The Lumia 920

It’s been a week since I had my Yellow Nokia Lumia 920. I already bought the unit since the second week of January but I was only able to get it last 2 February 2013. I didn’t source my phone here in the Philippines but from Singapore from which an ex-colleague referred me to a reputable gadget store that provides online payment for their products. Quite reasonable I may say and was lucky enough to get the last unopened yellow unit which I think is the “flagship” color (I might be wrong) for the flagship Windows Phone 8 Lumia.

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The quest to secure a unit started last year when Microsoft and Nokia announced Windows Phone 8. I would admit, at first I have been awed with the simplicity of the design of the OS and how it is different from the rest of row of icons implementation of other mobile OS’s. WP8 is indeed a welcome update from the previous versions as it is more functional and would give users of other platforms to easily adopt to this OS. I have been using several platforms prior to this – Android (Nexus One, Galaxy Note), a Blackberry (9780), and iOS  (iPad 2 and iPod Touch 5th Gen). While it is obvious that what’s missing is the Windows Phone Series device in my collection but the previous iteration of Windows Phone could be something to be liked but not really worthy owning yet. From the demo models available in stores and some owned by friends, the phone isn’t ripe yet for my own personal consumption. I actually like the form factor of the Lumia 900 – something closer to the large screens of the Androids but the screen resolution is too limiting for me.

There was a huge silence on the part of Nokia Philippines (based on their FB page) with regards to the availability of the Windows Phone 8 units not until in a forum that they’ve said that the new Lumias would come out by January 2013 (I can’t find the screenshot but they mentioned that January 2013 is the target release date). I was in a way a bit surprised in a bad way because the holidays is where people tend to spend more money and they are releasing a phone after people have spent their extra cash for gadgets. I just let it go since it would give me more time to research about the device.

The Tweet Reply of @NokiaPilipinas
The Tweet Reply

Till now, Lumia 920 is still elusive in the official channels of Nokia. Some are sourcing theirs in grey market online stores (e.g. Kimstore) or importing them from other countries.

Upon claiming my device, I went to Globe to convert my almost 13 year old simcard to a nano sim and bought a converter after. Reason for this is I want to test how this device would fare on LTE connection. Officemates are generous enough to lend me at least for 10 minutes to test their iPhone 5 postpaid subscriptions equipped with LTE. Prior testing, I ensured that they get LTE connection so that it would be a good basis to say that LTE exists in our area.

With the numerous reviews of Lumia 920, I won’t be doing any review on the phone features but rather chronicle how is it for someone a heavy Android user move to a relatively young platform such as Windows Phone 8. Did I miss something or would I turn back to Android? Let’s see. =)

Out of the Box

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The phone is charged around 40% when I turned it on. I am not sure when the device was released from the factory but it’s more than enough to juice to configure the device granted you have wifi or data plan with it.

Aside from the device itself (listed as a Singapore variant), the package comes with earphones with the same color as the phone, USB cable and the plug where the USB can be connected.

The good thing that even I have a Singapore-based plug, I can plug in any of my OEM chargers on the phone as it uses the standard microusb connection. I can easily switch chargers of my Android or Blackberry with this.

Contrary to iOS device packaging, there’s a lot of stuff with the box. Some stickers of barcode which I don’t really care about, LTE connection notice (saying it might not work on some carriers) and a thick booklet which is not necessarily a phone guide per se but a Windows Phone guide in general.

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Configuration

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Setting up the phone is quite easy. No need for rocket science to get things started. If Android requires a Google Account, here, its obviously you need a Microsoft account (aka Hotmail, Windows Live ID or Outlook.com ID). Accounts in different social networks can be set up (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) in the accounts. Without these, you cannot share items or the option to these networks in the context menus won’t appear. I noticed as well that the Facebook for Windows Phone is not made by Facebook but by Microsoft. A handful of Nokia apps are also in the phone but these need to be downloaded or updated. I remember setting up City Lens where I had to download something as well as Nokia Maps.

Transferring Contacts

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The phone came with an application called “Transfer My Data”. I think this is a Nokia exclusive application (or should I say an app made by Nokia) and it transfers contacts from a previous phone through bluetooth to your Windows Phone. After copying, one would be able to combine contacts from other services (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc).

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LTE

I did mention earlier that I am using a nano sim in my phone with microsim adapter. I asked my colleagues using LTE-enabled iPhone 5 postpaid plans to borrow their sim card and check if LTE works. Note that both sim cards tested from different networks receive LTE in our office area hence, it should work as well with my phone. As per checking in this list, Globe is using band 3 (1800Mhz) and Smart is using bands 5,3, and 1 (850/1800/2100 Mhz).

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From the picture above, it shows that all LTE frequencies in the Philippines is supported by the phone. In theory, it should work right? There’s no scientific process for the test that I did. I just used the simcard the way an ordinary user would use a smartphone.

With SMART, the network where I wish to sign-up for a postpaid line, it didn’t work. I only got Edge at most and the speeds are terribly low. I did ask them through twitter and their reply was this. Take note that their reply was based on service availability on the dates indicated:

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With Globe, I think it works. Here’s what I’ve got.

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I did ask in Philmug if 4G is LTE, no one answered. Lolz! But I suspect it is LTE since it can be used interchangeably with 4G (correct me if I’m wrong if ever). Some forums in other country say that to use LTE, one must set the highest connection speed to 4G to enable LTE.

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I also asked the @talk2Globe twitter account regarding their LTE service and I think I have enough proof that Globe’s LTE is not device dependent.

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Further research led me that indeed, Smart’s LTE offering for iPhone 5 is different from other devices.

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Possibly, that means that you need to have an add-on to your existing postpaid plan to enable LTE while it is available outright for iPhone 5 devices. Quite discriminatory to make it easily available for inferior phones while too restrictive for value smartphones. He he he!

Bundled Software

There’s a bunch of Nokia bundled software. Nice to have for me. 🙂

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Battery Life

I removed the charger one time around 5am. With normal usage of calls, text, WIFI, music, < 2 hours data connection, one whole charge lasted me 34 hours and 35 minutes (phone “died” at battery level 3% at 3:35pm the next day). I have data on my phone but I don’t really do an always on connection so this might be different for users on an always on setting. A friend of mine said that he got 12 hours on an always on Lumia 800. I took it with a grain of salt. 😛

As recommended by raypin, a PhilMugger, using the dark theme than the light theme makes a difference on the battery life. I did search on this over the internet and indeed, it’s one of the recommendation.

USB Storage

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It works! Just plug in your microusb cable to your machine and to the phone and voila (tested in Windows 7 and 8 machines)! If you want to use custom ringtones in your device, place your MP3 files it in the “Ringtones” folder and you can use them as your custom tones. Note that I am not sure what file extensions it support but MP3 is working for me. For some of the items, while you can transfer them to the device, there’s no assurance that they will be seen by the device (e.g. a video placed directly through explorer to the “Videos” folder will not necessarily mean it would be visible in the apps).

Camera

PureView camera rocks! It really do wonders in low light photography!

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Quirks/Wishlist

Of course, no mobile phone OS is perfect. Here’s some of my observations:

  • No notification center? Yes, live tiles give information but I hope there’s something like the one in BB10 where I don’t have to necessarily give up what I am currently doing or looking to just to check for new updates. Hardware wise, a notification light is a welcome idea.
  • Had to install the application “Connectivity Shortcuts” to enable shortcuts to radio signals (WIFI, Bluetooth, Data, and Airplane Mode). These are just shortcuts and they don’t toggle on/off right away. Hopefully, there’s a native live tile that will trigger those radios on or off. 
  • Bundled software Angry Birds Roost is a blah. Enough said.
  • Games are not in the application menu. One has to go to “Games” and select the game that you have just installed/purchased.
  • Album art of music is awfully designed. They could have integrated the style of the Zune desktop for displaying album arts. Nokia Music won’t display album art either. Likewise, for various artists collection, the album art for the whole album is that for the first song only. The rest of the songs even if they have their own album art, will display the first song’s cover (unlike in iPod)
  • No native battery meter. Yes, it is in the settings but it’s too tedious to check on it.
  • NFC transfer doesn’t work on Androids.
  • Select text position is not in place!IMG_0604

Conclusion

While there are still some social apps that I miss in Android, I guess this phone would be more than enough to perform your day to day functions. I am not sure how this would benefit those who use their smartphones for work (those connected to the office domain) but I think the tight integration of the Microsoft ecosystem would be a very good fit. For now, I still have all my 4 devices with me. Of them all, the Android seem to be going away from me. Seems like my setup would be in the near future is a BB, iOS (iPod Touch) and this WP8. I am not saying Android is bad, it’s just that WP8 is growing better on me. 🙂

The Clark Airport “Terminal” at Trinoma

Traveling has always been my thing. Thanks to the different budget airlines, I was able to fly to places more frequent as before. The cheapest fares that I got flying out from Manila is too hard to resist. Who would have thought that with Php 401 (Domestic) and Php 2,340 (International) would bring me back and forth with baggage  allowances sans perks to different places. But those fares could have been much more cheaper should I fly from Clark. Though, traveling to Clark isn’t a welcome idea for me as I have heard different stories, most of them are negative and the sorta inconvenience of inaccessible transportation just to get to the nearest bus terminal at SM Megamall. I was thinking then that the cost of taxi to Megamall + bus fare + tricycle (some say that the terminal doesn’t really stops at the airport, correct me if I am wrong) is not worth the savings one would get if flying from Clark. But that was THEN, yes because I never thought that this would happen.

In a nutshell, this lounge offers the following:

  • Php 200 fixed rate per way (Trinoma – Clark OR Clark – Trinoma). Please don’t be pilosopo, it is per way that’s why there’s OR.

  • Scheduled trips. I think the 24 hour “operating hours” is that you can wait inside the lounge while waiting for the next bus.

Continue reading “The Clark Airport “Terminal” at Trinoma”

RPM 49 and Body Jam 55 Tracklists

Here in Manila, the recent releases for Body Jam and RPM are releases 54 and 48 respectively. These two are my most attended classes, although I am leaning towards RPM. In the case of Body Jam 55, Gandalf Archer previewed Body Jam 55 in the recently concluded G Live held at PICC Forum, but still I am not sure if it’s the first or second block. Things are getting more better for these workouts.

RPM 49 tracklist

Pack Ride: California Gurls (Bodytronixx)
Pace: If I Had You (Adam Lambert)
Hills: Russian Roulette (Blunatix Meets B-Tastic Remix) (Felix DJ)
Mixed Terrain: Spin (Cassette Kids)
Intervals: Propane Nightmares (Southern Light)
Speed Work: Never Cry Again (Extended Mix) (Dash Berlin)
Mountain Climb: Blade (Jon Doe & Kutski Remix) (Warp Brothers feat. Red Monkey)
Ride Home: Never Hold You Down (Guy Sebastian)
Stretch: Solo (Iyaz)

BODYJAM 55 tracklist

Warmup: Favorite DJ (Clinton Sparks)
Isolations: Shawty Get Loose (Lil Mama feat Chris Brown & T-Pain)
Hip Hop: Baddest Gangsta Ballet Dancer (Big Poppin G)
Hip Hop: DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love (Usher feat. Pitbull)
Salsa 2010: Andale (Nicola Fasano & Steve Forest South Beach Mix) (Stereo Palma)
Salsa 2010: Livin’ La Vida Loca (Pablo Flores English Radio Edit) (Ricky Martin)
Salsa 2010: Samba All Night (Extended Version) (Bellini)
Salsa 2010: Samba De Janeiro 2010 (Manuel De La Mare Smash) (Bellini)
Recovery: Carry Out (de la Roche)
Show Me Jam: Gettin’ Over You (Computer Love)
Show Me Jam: Hotel Room Service (03 Remix) (Pitbull)
Show Me Jam: Not Myself Tonight (Laidback Luke Mixshow Edit) (Christina Aguilera)
Show Me Jam: Show Me Love (Danni Oak)
Groove Down: Rapture (Alicia Keys)

Desperate Move, Spammers. :P

For some strange encounter I had with a fictitious company more than 2 years ago, I blogged that experience in this location. This post got several comments affirming the situation. Earlier today, certain quarters “attacked” my site disputing my claim. See the photos for such. Surprisingly, they bitched out on the wrong person and no wonder these “people” disputing my claim use different e-mails but same IP address. Since they are not legitimate users, they cannot delete their posts. I WON’T DELETE THEM. Let people see your desperate acts.

Sorry my dear “posters”, I’m not stupid. A wrong and desperate move. 😛

RPM 48 and Body Jam 54 Tracklists

Releases RPM 47 and Body Jam 53 was just launched last week and now, the new releases’ tracklists are out. These two are my favorite Les Mills classes and while we are always excited for the new release, I am still in the honeymoon stage with the recent ones. Ha ha ha!

1. Your Love Is My Drug – Ke$ha
2. Lost Highway – Southern Light
3. Celebration (Blunatix Mix) – Felix Grey
4. One Love – Pure Essence
5. Brick By Boring Brick – Spacegliderz
6. Waiting – Dash Berlin feat. Emma Hewitt
7. It’s Not Over (Club Mix) – Paffendorf
8. Hey, Soul Sister – Train
9. Replay – Iyaz

1. Jump (Jump Smokers Remix) – Flo Rida (Feat. Nelly Furtado)
2. Make My Heart – Toni Braxton
3. Cantina – Starkillers
4. Natural Born Hustler feat. Pitbull – Crookers
5. Bombtrack – GhostHunter
6. Objection (Tango) – Shakira
7. Whole Lotta Love – Amber Luck
8. Girlfriend (Pied Piper Remix) – B2K
9. Everybody’s Free (2009 Rework) – Global Deejays feat. Rozalla
10. Cooler Couleur feat. Yelle – Crookers
11. I Will Be Here – DJ Lotus
12. Put It In A Love Song – Alicia Keys featuring Beyoncé Knowles