Ahmed Eltawil's Blog

Archive for September 2009

I am really happy to see the Zune HD slowly gaining momentum and attracting people’s attention. I also heard that some stores even sold out in the States. The thing that I don’t like is watching YouTube videos of some douchebag comparing the 1st generation Zune HD with a 4th generation iPod Touch and criticizing throughout the entire video on how the Zune HD comes short.

Those reviewers should try and remember what the iPod Touch was like when it first came out. There wasn’t a lot of apps available in the iTunes App Store yet and the software was buggy, slow and used to crash a lot. Looking at the Zune HD now in its initial release, I can honestly say that it had a better launch than the iPod Touch when it comes to OS stability.

It’s certainly a bit early in the game to start comparing both devices due to the fact that Zune’s Marketplace just launched, still isn’t open for developers and, more importantly, lacks content. People need to give the Zune HD some time to fill its Marketplace as well as for Microsoft to start selling it internationally before they give negative reviews and fill the blogosphere with their Zune criticism.

Now that we have seen the new Microsoft Zune HD with all the great new features added like the web browser and marketplace, I am left to ponder on what Windows Mobile 7 will look like and on what hardware will it run on. Microsoft did mention that Windows Mobile 7 will run on premium hardware unlike Windows Mobile 6.5 which leads me to suspect that NVIDIA Tegra powered Windows Mobile 7 smartphones (aka Windows Phones) isn’t far fetched or hard to believe.
As for the UI, the Zune HD also demonstrates what Microsoft has been working hard on for a long time to make the device stand out amongst the crowd and grab people’s attention with ease. Windows Mobile 7 will most likely use the same new browser as well as the revamped on-screen virtual keyboard. And seeing how the Zune HD’s UI flows very smoothly, very responsive, which is an indication of how much work Microsoft has put in the UI alone, makes me think that a similar UI might make it to WM7. I mean it does make sense for Microsoft to put all their efforts and resources into creating a single solid mobile platform like the Zune HD and make it flexible to accept additional modules in the future…like a phone module for instance.
In other words, Windows Mobile 7 might be the Zune Phone everyone was talking about and hoped for. It might not hold the Zune logo or be part of the Zune products, but no one said that it couldn’t sync with your Zune account. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out next from Microsoft’s mobile and entertainment departments. I’ll definitely keep my eyes wide open on them.
My main laptop has been out of order for quite a long time now. I opened it to clean it from the inside, put it back together, turned it on, I got an error message saying something isn’t connected properly and Windows won’t boot up.

Why are laptops still complicated? The task of opening up a laptop for a periodic cleaning shouldn’t be risky, time consuming or complicated or end up affecting the software (at least in my opinion).

So I sent it for repairs at a local laptop repair shop. It’s probably a disconnected hardware connector that I mistakenly took apart without noticing, even though I was extremely careful.

I hope they don’t charge me a premium for this. I wouldn’t have thought of repairing it if it wasn’t so important to me.

Sometimes I really wish I was living in the States. I was trying to pre-order a new HD webcam on Amazon.com, Microsoft LifeCam Cinema, and towards the end of the process I was informed that it can only be shipped to a U.S address so they canceled my order.

Why on earth would that be a problem? I am paying for that product and they wouldn’t allow it. Why would my location matter? Whether I live in the States or not, I should be able to order anything online and get it shipped to my Canadian address. It’s not like Amazon will ship it overseas on a plane or a ship. I am right next door!

The U.S and Canada already share a unique and friendly trading laws and policies due to the fact that Canada relies heavily on cross border trades with the U.S. So why would one tiny product from an internationally respected company like Amazon refuse to send me a webcam?

As usual, Canadians are put aside once again as if we don’t exist from another U.S based company. Thanks Amazon (as well as Microsoft) for ignoring your friendly neighbors and for stepping on us like dispensable objects.

I just realized today that only North America uses the GSM-850 and GSM-1900 while the rest of the world is enjoying GSM-900 and GSM-1800 frequencies. Why should US and Canada be using different cellular frequencies than the rest of the world? Phone manufacturers like Nokia, HTC and Samsung mostly make 3G phones that run on the 900 and 1800 frequencies because voice and 3G will work right out of the box in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. But when it comes to the US and Canada, they have to wait months until the same manufacturers make a North American model (aka NAM) and a lot of times they don’t even bother, and I can honestly understand why.

But the only thing that I still don’t understand is why can’t US and Canadian GSM wireless carriers switch to the 900 and 1800 GSM frequencies so that any new phone can truly be called a world phone? Why should US and Canada wait forever to get the NAM phones when most of the world are already using the newly released phones right from the manufacturer? Are North American wireless carriers trying to increase their profits this way? I mean, did they run on different frequencies so that customers wouldn’t buy phones from anywhere else except from them forcing them into a long term contract? Honestly that’s the only explanation I could come up with and it sounds pretty unfair for the customer. They are totally limiting the customer’s options when it comes to cellphones.

I can’t count how many times I wished I could own a particular smartphone and end up finding that it won’t be able to use my GSM carrier’s 3G network because it doesn’t support North American GSM frequencies. I think Rogers, Fido, AT&T, T-Mobile, basically all North American GSM wireless carriers need to switch to the 900 and 1800 cellular frequencies. There is no need to make things more complicated. Universal GSM frequencies will definitely make things a lot easier and more convenient for people to roam around the world with their world phones while utilizing all their phone’s features, especially the fast mobile broadband connections.

From time to time I post a video to my YouTube channel and recently I figured out how to upload YouTube HD videos. I have a camcorder that can record in high quality 16:9 aspect ratio but not technically in HD quality. So I was thinking if I should buy a simple point-n-shoot HD video capable digital camera or invest in a HD camcorder (which will probably cost a lot more)? I also thought about investing in a HD webcam, like the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema. They’re pretty popular now, but the disadvantage is that you can’t take them anywhere.

Anyways, this is just one of the things I have been thinking about lately, not to mention my next smartphone purchase of course.


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