Ahmed Eltawil's Blog

Archive for April 2008

Yup, it’s time to let go the blonde. It has been one heck of an experience, but not everything has good endings. The iPhone is pretty, smooth, revolutionary, and is a key product for Apple. But I just couldn’t get over the fact that it is restricted and imprisoned by dozens of rules and formats forced by Apple. As I said in my previous blog, sometimes I don’t feel like I own an iPhone, instead I feel like Apple owns me.
 
I found myself buying a lot from iTunes just to avoid all the pain and hassle of converting my videos and music collections so that it could sync with iTunes (which I believe is a major concern and Apple should be sued for it). Plus, I couldn’t log on MSN since there isn’t a client application out there yet (instead I had to use the battery draining meebo web application and others alike. I couldn’t send emails from my Windows Live Mail account using iPhone’s native Mail client (I managed to only receive them). And I couldn’t sync my contacts or calendar with my Windows Live Mail contacts and calendar, respectively.
 
And guess what? I can do all that (and more) with my Nokia E61 (except syncing calendar events).
 
 
The only thing I will miss the most is the web browsing experience. Nothing on the market so far comes close to the iPhone’s web browser. On the other hand, I know that Microsoft is working on a new Pocket Internet Explorer that should be generations better than the current one shipped with every Windows Mobile device. Also Opera has a new browser (Opera Mobile 9 in the works) which can be considered a potential competitor to the iPhone’s Safari browser.
 
Nevertheless, this is a unique device with a tremendous amount of potential (iPhone 2.0 is soon to be released with new features) but comes short when it comes to features and usability for power users.  (at least in my opinion).
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Those folks at Microsoft Research sure made me feel generations behind in technology. Looks like they have been hard at work trying to come up with cool new innovative ideas. I personally like the part where they show a new Live Search.

The video below was taken from www.istartedsomething.com.

And by saying “blonde”, I mean my iPhone. I had fun playing around and using the phone but it’s time to get a “real” smartphone. A device that I can store and backup files to. A device that I can drag-and-drop files to without worrying about file formats and compatibility. A device that I can wirelessly send files to another device through bluetooth. A device that lets me set my own ringtone. A device that lets me copy and paste. A device that sets me free for God’s sake!
I am sick and tired of all the bull shit restrictions that Apple included in the iPhone. Sometimes I don’t even feel that I own this phone, instead Apple owns me. I can’t transfer any kind of video file to my phone because it has to follow specific rules and formats supported by iTunes. So I have to go through all the trouble of decoding and converting either music or video files so that I can sync it to my iPhone through iTunes. And most of the time it doesn’t work. It’s Apple’s way of forcing everyone to buy music and video off iTunes. Don’t you think they should get sued for doing that?
It’s time to free myself from all the restrictions and limitations that was forced into my digital mobile life ever since I owned an iPhone. It’s time to let it go.
Screw Apple, and screw its iPhone!
I am switching to Windows Mobile. Now that’s a mobile operating system that certainly makes you the boss of your phone! It’s just a matter of choosing the right device with the right features.
It might be a couple of days late to blog about this but I am doing it anyways.

The Bell Centre in Montreal was filled with more than 21,000 UFC fans and their cheers filled the air and rocked the stadium. Those people were so pumped up, including yours truely, and we all couldn’t wait to see GSP fight Serra. But we knew they would save the best for last.

After 8 great fights between popular fighters, it was time for the main event that everyone came for. First, GSP showed up and that’s when everyone stood up cheering the Canadian fighter. And when Serra came out the crowd didn’t show much appreciation.

The fight started and GSP seemed to be on top of Serra all the time. As a matter of fact, he completely dominated the fight giving Serra zero chances to fight back. The fight ended with a knockout from GSP.

The joy and satisfaction from GSP’s victory felt overwhelming and I am pretty sure anyone in the streets of Montreal could hear the crowd within the Bell Centre. I almost lost my voice from all the yelling and cheering. In the end, the experience was unbelievable and totally worth the wait. It certainly beats watching it on TV.

A while back, my generous boss decided to take us all to the first UFC fight in Canada held at Bell Centre in Montreal. While the tickets and the hotel booking was paid by my boss (a million thanks)  I have to obviously cover my personal expenses. The one hour flight from London (Ontario) to Montreal (Quebec) was comfortable and trouble-free.

After we landed and checked in the hotel, we left and took a cab downtown Montreal where all the action takes place. I honestly haven’t seen that many people in several streets walking and making a lot of noise in Canada. There were hundreds of bars and clubs, restaurants and cafes, limos and cabs concentrated in several streets. And the traffic seemed to get worse as time passes by. And believe me, time does fly by so very quickly in downtown Montreal on a Friday night .

So anyways, after we had our share of fun, entertainment, meals and drinks we headed back to the hotel at around 1:30 AM.

So far so good.

Note: This post was originally typed on April 18, 2008.

I am not sure if Microsoft Office Live is trying to compete with Google Docs, but what I know for sure is that I wasn’t totally impressed. Don’t get me wrong, having such a service is always appreciated especially when it ties in with Office 2007 in terms of syncing documents. Plus it’s free of charge. But Office Live still has a long way to go in order for me to see a competition against Google Docs.

On the other hand, Google Docs immediately impressed me right off the bat with their simple, user friendly and responsive interface. They have most, if not all, the tools I ever want to use when it comes to creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations. And it’s all available on the web free of charge. That’s when I started searching for Microsoft’s answer to Google Docs and found about Office Live.

You might think I am leaning more towards Google Docs, but those who know me know that I stand by Microsoft’s products and services. And as soon as I knew about Office Live I immediately added it to my favorites and I am confident that I will be using it often. Better yet, I even started sending feedback filled with suggestions and feature requests that in my opinion will further improve and promote the service.

But the thing that bugs me is the way the Live Services team tends to widen the gap between some of their Live services. I mean, we’re all familiar with the commonly seen Windows Live bar with the quick shortcuts to Home, Hotmail, Spaces and OneCare. But what about SkyDrive, QnA, and Office Live? And even though they were still in beta, shouldn’t they allow more people to use those new services in order to get more feedback by giving users quick shortcuts to the services?

After I visited the Office Live site, I didn’t know if it’s part of the Windows Live services or is it a standalone online service. If it’s a standalone service, then why put a "Live" label on it? And if it’s part of the Windows Live services, then why does it not have the Windows Live bar at the top, and why doesn’t it follow the same look and feel of the other Windows Live services? I don’t know why, but Microsoft got me used to leaving me confused with any new service it launches in beta.

You know something, sometimes I wish I was part of the Live team in order to share and work with them on some of my ideas which I am confident will help improve the commonly used and new Windows Live services. But all I can do in the meantime is wish.

I can’t seem to put my iPhone down! Is it really a bad thing to be addicted and so much connected to your phone? I mean, it’s not like I make a lot of phone calls (anyone who knows me knows that I am not much of a chatter box). I don’t know, there is certainly something different about this phone than all the others I previously owned. I can’t believe I am about to say this, but I think I am beginning to be quite attached to my iPhone.

Don’t get me wrong, it won’t totally replace my Nokia E61 yet, but it certainly does certain things a lot better and faster. And in a more elegant way, as most Apple products do (if not all).

But I can admit and say it out loud that this phone is special to me. The way it looks and feels. The way it automatically rotates without a press of a button. The way all instances are connected and communicates seamlessly with one another. It’s certainly a beautiful revolution wrapped in an elegant and classy package for everyone to admire.

I got to be honest with you. Before I got my iPhone, I was constantly annoyed by all the fuss and popularity a single phone, the iPhone, had. I started telling myself not to be carried away by the media frenzy. And it did work, for a very short period of time. Until I started to wonder if the iPhone really deserved all that. And it was clear to me that there was only one way to find out. I had to get my hands on it and see for myself.

As soon as I received the package and took the phone out of the black box, it immediately blew me away. It’s unlike any cellphone I used. Everything about it was completely different than anything I have experienced. And that’s when I realized how unique and special this device is and will always be.

The bottom line is: I don’t care if I got addicted or attached to my iPhone. I am proud of owning such a revolutionary device. The experience alone is worth the long wait and every cent put into it.

Ladies and gentlemen, this post was typed on my iPhone.

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@AhmedEltawil

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